Data Center Market Sustainable


For those involved with the design and construction of data centers, it's good news all around. Leading experts report no foreseeable end to the need to build and upgrade these critical facilities.

Speaking at a supply chain event in Nashville, sponsored by Turner Logistics, key executives from EYP Mission Critical Facilities, one of the nation's top data center design firms, addressed key trends in this market sector. According to Rick Einhorn, the firm's chief marketing officer, advances in distributed computing and a potential lack of proper facilities to house this increasingly sophisticated—and power-consuming/heat-generating—equipment will continue to drive the market for at least the next three years.

"At least 18 of the top 20 financial institutions are in some kind of build-out right now," said Einhorn.

And it's not just banks: Hospitals, big box retailers, the government, universities, Internet companies, telecom, pharma, oil services and even broadcast companies are all building data centers. Granted, Einhorn said, they're not all at the same degree of reliability as the top banks.

According to Peter Gross, EYP MCF's CEO, the resurgence is due to much "saner" technology planning. "In the next two or three years we'll see an enormous amount of money that will be invested into the industry, but it's investment that's much more fundamentally driven," said Gross.

Those fundamentals include an increased need for operational reliability, disaster recovery, independence from the power grid and an ability to deal with the incredible rate of technology "refreshes"—IT equipment retrofits—which occur every three to five years.

Furthermore, Gross said the cost of servers is going down and the number of installations is going up. And as this technology, particularly blade servers, becomes more accessible, we'll see an explosion.

In fact, he said, in the U.S. right now, there are 9 million servers. By 2009, there will be 16 million—30 million worldwide.

For some perspective, 14%%MDASSML%%15 blades constitute a typical server. The power load for a typical cabinet is about 2.4 kW. Five years ago, the average was 1.2 kW—a number that held for 20 years. But in two years the 2.4 number will double and continue to grow. "The power being drawn is a function of the information that's being processed," said Gross. "And the power—and cooling—loads of these servers is increasing exponentially, especially since this equipment is also being condensed."

In the long run, the answer may be to turn to DC power. Indeed, Sun Microsystems is already doing so (click here for more information).

"Power is really the name of the game," said Gross, who went on to note that a top technology officer from Google recently commented that if things don't change soon, the company will spend more on electricity than it does on hardware.

A silver lining to this issue is that processing chips are hitting their ceiling. Furthermore, new multi-core technology may help reduce the heat generated by processors by breaking up the chip, so to speak. That's great news for the near future, as cabinet power will dip, said Gross. Unfortunately, he predicted, we'll be back in the same boat about five years from then.

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Commissioning lighting control systems; 2016 Commissioning Giants; Design high-efficiency hot water systems for hospitals; Evaluating condensation and condensate
Solving HVAC challenges; Thermal comfort criteria; Liquid-immersion cooling; Specifying VRF systems; 2016 Product of the Year winners
MEP Giants; MEP Annual Report; Mergers and acquisitions; Passive, active fire protection; LED retrofits; HVAC energy efficiency
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
click me