Building efficient Data centres

A data centre is a centralised repository, either physical or virtual, for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information organised around a particular body of knowledge or pertaining to a particular business.

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Building efficient Data centres
By  Piers Ford Published  March 22, 2014

A data centre is a centralised repository, either physical or virtual, for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information organised around a particular body of knowledge or pertaining to a particular business. Building and certifying a green data centre can be expensive up front, but long-term cost savings can be realised on operations and maintenance.

The global expansion on IT has created a surge in the demand for power, as more and more devices become connected to wider networks and systems. By some estimates IT, including communications and consumer usage, now accounts for 10% of all global power consumption, and demand for power is only set to increase further.

This reality has brought data centres in the spotlight in the region. The Middle East IT sector could do better on the sustainability front and that seems to be the consensus when it comes to the main drivers behind the enterprise’s rapidly growing investment in data centres in the Middle East.

In parallel with global trends, and despite the strong green focus of many major construction and development projects in the region, cost, flexibility, virtualisation and consolidation continue to have a greater influence on most data centre strategies than environmental concerns or carbon footprint reduction.

However, there are signs that green data centres – where the mechanical, lighting, electrical and computer systems are designed for maximum energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact – are moving slowly up the agenda.

A survey carried out for DLA Piper’s 2014 Global Data Centre Market Report revealed that for customers and suppliers across the industry, sustainability and green accreditations are gaining prominence as catalysts for data expansion.

“An overwhelming 74% of respondents felt that having a recognised sustainability or clean-tech accreditation increased the appeal of a data centre facility,” said the report, which identified the main drivers for seeking such accreditation as response to customer perception and demand (29%), a company’s own sustainability policy or agenda (27%) and the desire achieve long term sustainability (26%).  Every-rising energy costs were another important factor.

In the Middle East, this is happening against a backdrop of significant investment. This May, the Datacenter Dynamics Converged Dubai 2014 event will reflect an industry that is currently enjoying growth rates off 18% in facility equipment, 7.5% in IT optimisation and 16.7% in managed services – all reflecting the data centre’s general rise in operational importance and the rapid evolution of supporting technology.

According to specialist energy management vendor Schneider Electric, initiatives such as Dubai’s Smart City project are having an immediate and direct effect on the way existing and new data centres are managed and built.

“The convergence of the different government entities and networks will lead to consolidation of data centre space as well as other infrastructure,” said Thierry Chamayou, vice president of the company’s Middle East and Africa IT Business.

“In addition, global energy demands are supposed to peak and supply sources are supposed to come under a lot of strain, so energy efficiency is an absolute need of the hour. It is estimated that approximately 40% of the energy bill in an IT room is actually consumed by the data centre itself. Therefore, ways to reduce this energy consumption are a huge challenge for the IT manager.”

Chamayou explained that data centres need to be scalable and built for future growth, while managing current requirements and delivering operational cost savings – a scenario which should find CIOs beating a path to the door of skilled-up systems integrators.

“Accountability, sustainable practice and restrictions on emissions are framing the regulations which will lead to the adoption of green data centres in the Middle East,” he said. “The channel has an important and self-serving role in promoting the ecologically responsible use of technology as this practice will drive the migration to more efficient data centre technology.”

Glen Ogden, Middle East regional sales director at A10 Networks said the region is poised to benefit from global investment in green technology development.

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