It’s the time of year when seemingly everyone is feeling the heat—and complaining about it. While this condition may be seasonal for many parts of the world, Global Warming notwithstanding, there is one particular place where conditions are hellacious all year-round and it’s getting worse: Inside a typical datacenter.
This reality was on the front burner (sorry) at the recent Great Canadian Data Centre Symposium. According to an article on the symposium by Lynn Grenier, called “Data Centres are Hot Stuff,” countless conversations on this topic were abundant, while each discussion eventually addressed issues regarding power and cooling.
Sweat should form when you think about the following: Forbes reported that datacenters around the globe suck up about three percent of the world’s electricity consumption (and that was in 2016; you know it’s only gotten worse) while Data Economy predicts six years from now that figure will be 20 percent.
So what should managers and operators of datacenters do? It should be clear that maintaining the status quo of traditional power and cooling methods won’t suffice. Issues such as overcrowding of gear within facilities as well as the continued practice of overprovisioning and excessive power density must be addressed.
Datacenter owners, operators and designers must collectively seek new ways to gain control and increase monitoring capabilities for things to cool down inside datacenters. Symposium speaker Peter Gross, VP at Bloom Energy and a member of VPS’ board of directors, suggested that the answers are here today with Software Defined Power.
Many of today’s datacenters operate with a known variability of power that requires power buffers for the unknown with a redundant power infrastructure. The result is power-blind workload orchestration and SLA-blind power allocation. With SDP, power that was formerly stranded becomes available, variability is consolidated, and redundancy is assured, enabling workloads to be power-aware while power allocation becomes SLA-aware.
SDP makes possible managing power resources to dynamically meet the needs of supply and demand. Gross commented that SDP enables dynamic movement of workloads within a facility or anywhere according to factors, including SLAs, workloads and energy costs.
SDP permits deeper integration within datacenters, not just power and cooling but other virtualized layers too, which enables enhanced infrastructure automation and control. Down the road is datacenter federation, where collocated facilities can be managed to optimize utilization and availability even further according to the cost of energy and power availability.
So how do datacenter denizens today make the proper moves to gain control of power and cooling? It may sound like a statement from someone suffering from heatstroke, but don’t think about today or even tomorrow—think about where you want your facility to be two or three years from now. Architect with the future in mind.
If you want to be in business for the long run, design that way. Focus on flexibility and scalability to help reduce reliance on overprovisioning. Instead of being fixated on hardware, consider services you could provide and optimize your resources accordingly using software.