Monday, June 29, 2009

Energy Efficiency Remains Priority In Spite of Economic Troubles

In lean times, data centers are learning to do more with less. The Aperture Research Institute of Emerson Network Power just released the results of a study showing that, despite the global economic downturn, energy-efficiency is still a top-of-mind objective for many data centers. In fact, data center managers are concentrating on resolving efficiency issues as a way to balance increasing demand for IT services with stagnant budgets.

The report reveals that:

Data center managers will look at ways to squeeze more from their existing resources, with 80 percent of those surveyed saying they can create at least 10 percent additional capacity through better management of existing assets. Thirty percent of those surveyed said they could find an additional 20 percent. There is likely to be a revitalized focus on tools that provide insight into resource allocation and use.

Data centers will also look to green initiatives to help manage their operating expenses, with 87 percent of those surveyed having a green initiative in place and the majority expecting to continue or intensify these efforts.

The survey data also suggests that the downturn will have "little effect on the demand for IT services" – a positive indicator for economic recovery. I recommend downloading the full Research Note as a PDF at the Aperture Research Institute’s website. It’s an interesting read.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Investing in Energy-Efficient Equipment

In "Taking Control of the Power Bill", Bruce Gain takes a look at how many data center admins are retooling their IT infrastructures’ power needs to accommodate growth and slash costs. He notes that although many admins struggle with having to pay additional costs associated with switching to more eco-efficient server room cooling, airflow designs, and other related equipment, paying for more expensive yet efficient equipment is a smart investment when you look at the big picture.

In order to justify that investment, admins should calculate the ROI offered by different scenarios. By creating models to outline the costs of ownership for different configurations and doing a full costs-benefits analysis, you can ease the decision making process. Once you begin making the switch to a more energy-efficient approach, it’s recommended that your organization phase in new equipment as part of the natural growth and evolution of your IT systems.

Michael Petrino, vice president of PTS, also offers his thoughts on the subject, providing a concrete example of cheaper yet less efficient components vs. more power-efficient but costly alternatives. I encourage you to check out the full article in Vol.31, Issue 17 of PROCESSOR.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Drug Companies Put Cloud Computing to the Test

Traditionally characterized as "late adopters" when it comes to their use of information technology (IT), major pharmaceutical companies are now setting their sights on cloud computing.

Rick Mullin at Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) explores how Pfizer, Eli Lilly & Co., Johnson & Johnson, Genentech and other big drug firms are now starting to push data storage and processing onto the Internet to be managed for them by companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft on computers in undisclosed locations. In the cover story, “The New Computing Pioneers”, Mullin explains:

“The advantages of cloud computing to drug companies include storage of large amounts of data as well as lower cost, faster processing of those data. Users are able to employ almost any type of Web-based computing application. Researchers at the Biotechnology & Bioengineering Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin, for example, recently published a paper on the viability of using Amazon's cloud-computing service for low-cost, scalable proteomics data processing in the Journal of Proteome Research (DOI: 10.1021/pr800970z).”

While the savings in terms of cost and time are significant (particularly in terms of accelerated research), this is still new territory. Data security and a lack of standards for distributed storage and processing are issues when you consider the amount of sensitive data that the pharmaceutical sector must manage. Drug makers are left to decide whether it’s smarter to build the necessary infrastructure in-house or to shift their increasing computing burdens to the cloud.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Data Center Professionals Network

The other day I stumbled across the Data Center Professionals Network, a free online community for professionals from around the world who represent a cross section of the industry. Members include data center executives, engineering specialists, equipment suppliers, training companies, real-estate and building companies, colocation and wholesale businesses, and industry analysts. The recently launched networking site enables key players in the industry to easily connect, interact, and develop business opportunities.

According to Maike Mehlert, Director of Communications:

The Data Center Professionals Network has been set up to be a facilitator for doing business. It acts as a one-stop-shop for all aspects of the data center industry, from large corporations looking for co-location or real estate, or data centers looking for equipment suppliers or services, to engineers looking for advice or training.

Features of the social network include a personalized user profile, as well as access to job boards, business directories, press releases, classified ads, white papers, photos, videos and events.

I haven’t had a chance to join yet but if you want to check it out, visit (you can sign in using a Ning ID if you already have one). If you do visit the site, post a comment and let me know what you think.