Data centers, under strain, expand at furious pace

About a third to half of all data centers will be physically expanding or leasing new space in the next two years, according to recent surveys.

About a third to half of all data centers will be physically expanding or leasing new space in the next two years, according to recent surveys.

These surveys are providing a picture of strains facing the facilities that cradle the digital economy, as well as the pressure data center and IT managers are under to keep up with demand.

The Uptime Institute, for the first time, recently surveyed 525 data center operators and owners, 71 per cent of whom are in North America. Of respondents, 36 per cent said they will run out of power, cooling and space through 2012.

To meet the need, 40 per cent of the respondents plan to build a new a new data center, and 29 per cent said they would lease additional space in a colocation center. Another 20 per cent said they would move IT workloads to cloud providers.

More in Data Centers

Afcom, an association of data center managers, recently surveyed 360 IT managers and other IT executives, and found 29 per cent are expanding or building a new data center. Another 21 per cent said they are planning on expanding their existing data center or building a new data in the next two years.

Most organizations have taken advantage of the biggest "pressure reliever" of the last decade -- virtualization, said Tad Davies, executive vice president of the Bick Group, which designs and builds data centers. "There's not much more they can get there, so it's back to expansion," he said.

Matt Stansberry, director of content and publications at Uptime, who also developed the survey, said that with the economic downturn, "a lot of companies stretched server refresh cycles, but with budgets on the rise that means a lot of people will be running out of capacity."

Digital Realty Trust, a data center provider, recently surveyed 300 IT decision makers in North America with annual revenue of at least $1 billion or at least 5,000 employees. In its report this month, it found that 85 per cent of respondents will definitely or probably expand their data centers this year.

That's a high percentage, but Digital Realty explains it by the size of the firms. Expansion includes everything from a physical expansion and leasing of colocation space to cloud computing services. It also represents a four per cent increase over last year's survey results.

More power to them

One way of measuring the impact of data center expansion is on power consumption.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection released a report that estimated that national energy consumption by servers and data centers would rise from 7 gigawatts (GW) to 12 GW by this year, which would have required an additional 10 power plants. Power consumption had previously doubled from 2000.

The EPA has not updated its 2007 estimate, but it's believed that the recession and improvements in energy efficiency have reduced the original forecast for 2011.

However, nationally, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that demand for new generating power, for all needs by business and homes, will rise by 223 GW for all electrical energy uses through 2035. That estimate includes retirement of about 39 GW of existing capacity.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hardware systems

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?