Data Centers of the Future - Part I

Data Centers of the Future Part I

This is part 1 of a 4 part series on data centers of the future. Part 1 is a discussion about the issues and challenges facing data centers that are being designed today.

"Sometimes we run out of power, sometimes we run out of cooling, usually we run out of both."? Anonymous

Planning a data center today that will meet your company's long terms needs is very challenging in today's environment.? With high density 1U and Blade servers becoming the technology of choice in today's data processing environment, planning the infrastructure for a data center that can support them long term is critical.? With rapidly increasing power and cooling requirements and with construction costs increasing dramatically in response, the data center of the future that many people have been predicting for years may now become a reality.

High density data centers have been predicted for years. In fact, there is one well known computer manufacturer that has been predicting 100 watts per square foot data centers for at least 15 years. It just goes to show you that if you predict something long enough, it eventually comes true. In reality, despite the predictions, densities in data centers had been increasing slowly. That has changed with the advent of server based data centers and let's be clear, when everyone discusses high density data centers, it is server based data centers they are talking about.

5 years ago the average density in a data center was approximately 30 watts per square foot. 2 years ago it was approximately 40 watts per square foot, last year it was up to approximately 50 watts per square foot and by the end of this year there are some groups projecting average densities of 70 to 80 watts per square foot. The chart below shows some of the predictions on densities that are out there and the impact they would have on the average watts per square foot requirements as well as the average kW requirement per rack. KW per rack is a way of measuring the load at the rack level, which is a more accurate way of predicting densities in server based data center than looking at the overall watts per square foot requirements.

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