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The 10 common data centre surprises

Jack Loo | April 2, 2012
Emerson Network Power gives recommendations to data centre managers on how to handle potential situations.

Emerson Network Power has unveiled a list of 10 data centre scenarios and offered tips on how managers can deal with them.

"When you are a data centre or IT manager, very few things are more unsettling than the unexpected," said Peter Panfil, vice president of global power, Emerson Network Power. "We hope this list helps IT professionals better anticipate these issues and prepares them with the appropriate technologies, solutions and best practices."

The list includes information on a surprising cause of data centre downtime, what data centre managers might not know about that next server refresh, and the growing trend sneaking up on virtually every IT manager.

The ten scenarios are:

1.         A recent Data Center Users' Group survey predicted average rack densities will reach 12.0 kW within three years. That puts a premium on adequate UPS capacity and power distribution as well as cooling to handle the corresponding heat output.  

2.         Cooling and UPS systems organisations invest in today must be able to support servers that may be two, three or even four generations removed from today's models. Modular solutions can scale to meet both short- and long-term requirements.

3.         According to a Ponemon Institute study, an outage can cost an organisation an average of about US$300,000 in just an hour. The same study indicates the most common causes of downtime are UPS battery failure and exceeding UPS capacity. Avoid those problems by investing in UPS that can be adequately sized to support the load and proactively monitoring and maintaining batteries.

4.         The same Ponemon study indicates 35 percent of all unplanned outages are a result of some type of water incursion. These aren't just leaky valves; in fact, many water-related outages are the result of a spilled coffee or diet soda. The fix: Check those valves, but more importantly, check the drinks at the door.

5.         New virtualised servers, especially powerful blade servers, can consume four or five times as much energy as those from the preceding generation (although they usually do it more efficiently). There is no fix for this, but prepare for it by making sure the infrastructure is adequate to support the power and cooling needs of these new servers.

6.         Data centre managers use, on average, at least four different software platforms to manage their physical infrastructure. Move towards a single monitoring and management platform to improve energy and operational efficiency and even availability.

7.         Traditionally, IT and data centre managers have had to work through Facilities when they need more power or cooling to support increasing IT needs. That process is being streamlined, thanks in large part to Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solutions that increase visibility and control over all aspects of a building's infrastructure. Forward-thinking data centre managers are developing a DCIM strategy to help them understand this expansion of their roles and responsibilities.


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