Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gartner on Green Data Center Recommendations

Gartner Research just issued a very telling release on taking a holistic view of energy-efficient data centers, rather than a narrow point-technology view. Gartner compared the data center to a "living organism" in terms of how it needs to be treated as a dynamic mechanism. (BTW, I owe a head nod to Dave O's GreenM3 blog for coining the term "the living data center")

Said Rakesh Kumar, a research vice president at Gartner,
“If ‘greening’ the data centre is the goal, power efficiency is the starting point but not sufficient on its own... Green’ requires an end-to-end, integrated view of the data centre, including the building, energy efficiency, waste management, asset management, capacity management, technology architecture, support services, energy sources and operations.”
“Data centre managers need to think differently about their data centres. Tomorrow’s data centre is moving from being static to becoming a living organism, where modelling and measuring tools will become one of the major elements of its management,” said Mr Kumar. “It will be dynamic and address a variety of technical, financial and environmental demands, and modular to respond quickly to demands for floor space. In addition, it will need to have some degree of flexibility, to run workloads where energy is cheapest and above all be highly-available, with 99.999 per cent availability.”
I like this analysis because it implies a dynamic "utility computing" style data center where workloads can be moved, servers can be repurposed, and capacity is always matched to demand. This is the ideal approach to ensuring constant efficiency.

The release also had six recommendations; Here's the one I like the most:
6. Manage the server efficiencies. Move away from the ‘always on’ mentality and look at powering equipment down
To me, it sounds like technologies like Active Power management are finally getting traction; and, it seems that power management is being validated -- especially in environments with very highly cyclical workloads. (most recently endorsed in a 451 Group report, as well by a host of vendors).

Especially with the economy in a spin, and margins being tightened, look for more ideas for increasing the $ efficiency of data center assets.

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