Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to keep those servers cool!

There’s an interesting article in the latest edition of Government Computing magazine (unfortunately there is no e-version of the article to link to). The article in question is entitled ‘Greening the data centre’ and refers to the problems that organisations are encountering in terms of rising energy costs resulting from the ‘hot and hungry’ new blade servers that organisations are cramming into their data centres. According to the piece it is predicted that between 2000 and 2010 we will have "installed six times the amount of servers in our data centres and 69 times the amount of storage".

The problem is apparently that our data centre buildings are not designed to cope with the power required and heat generated by such machines, plus of course energy-consumption is now a political and ethical hot potato.

Now the interesting thing is the range of possible solutions outlined in the article. These vary from ‘better power management in data centres’, through to ‘taking your servers… and virtualising them’ or simply replacing old technology with new.

Nowhere does the rather obvious suggestion of ‘keeping less information’ get a look in. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the content of these steaming servers is actually still useful and still required? Of course the volume of information organisations create and need to retain is always increasing – but I bet there is still a huge percentage that could safely be destroyed if only anyone knew what it was, and whether it was still actually required…

But given that the main contributor to the piece is a Vice President at IBM perhaps its not that that surprising that the suggestion is to buy more kit, rather than to make better use of what exists already…

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