Self centred

An inward focus has seen end users take a look in the mirror to see how much to invest when it comes to data centres. JJ WORRALL sees where money is being spent at present



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1 March 2009 | 0

One of the biggest names in data centre optimisation is that of Dell, and according to Paul Kenny, head of global infrastructure with Dell Ireland, organisations in this sector are currently more focused on cost than ever, and in particular are seeking “the savings that technology and automation can deliver”.

He continued, “We are advising customers to simplify their infrastructure and achieve better consolidation of physical assets, implement better management systems, automate more tasks and leverage technology advances to optimise their IT operations.”

Maurice Mortell, CEO of Data Electronics added to this clamour for end users to examine how they can benefit from employing the usage of a data centre. “There’s a general rule of thumb in the market at the moment that for every 10 kilowatts of power that’s used out in marketplace, as regards customers using their own power in their own office, you only use one kilowatt in the data centre. It’s much more efficient than the client doing it themselves.”

Beyond tips on management structures and automation, several experts to whom ComputerScope spoke emphasised how virtualisation of both server and storage environments is gaining popularity. Noted Kenny, “We are seeing more customers who are now moving from the evaluation phase of virtualisation technologies to implementing them. While virtualisation facilitates better utilisation of assets from a management and performance perspective, it also increases the capability to achieve more efficient power and cooling in the data centre environment.”

However, not all subscribe to this ethos with many data centre commentators shifting virtualisation into the realms of ‘future development’ rather than the sure thing to spend your money on.

“If I get another enquiry about virtualisation – it’s amazing how often it comes up” said Aidan Donnelly, CEO of Servecentric who provide high-quality, scalable solutions from single cabinet collocation services to full-scale provision of managed services. “There seems to be a great misunderstanding of what it is and how it works and that the real saving has to come in how you structure and downsize your server base.”

Gavin Tobin MD of Ethos Technology, a trade only distributor, said that at a recent VMware conference the topic of just how much money virtualisation can save at the moment came up. “It’s a bit of a running joke,” he said, “, I was talking to some people and said instead of buying 16 EUR*1,000 servers there’ll be one server (bought) for EUR*16,000. The main savings with regards to virtualisation will be power consumption and what you’re paying for that space. You’ll most likely still spend the same with regards to hardware whether it’s 16 vender machines or one big machine running 16 virtual machines. Where you’ll save is on how much you’re paying for your rack space and how much you’re paying for your power.”

Bob Fine, director of product marketing with Compellent claimed that virtualisation is “almost synonymous with cost saving”. He added, “Even with what’s been going on with the worldwide economy over the last three to four months, this will facilitate the adoption of anything that will reduce costs. If virtualisation is the way to reduce costs further, then it will become the poster child for data centre savings. The ROI is easily explainable as well to people who may have been trudging around with different management systems, or those who’ve had to deal with the complications of RAID groups. They see it right away.”

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