Dynamic power variation is a new phenomenon that is severely affecting the efficiency of data centres, according to APC. Neil Rasmussen, chief innovation officer at data centre manufacturers APC, told Computerworld UK that virtualisation and the growing adoption of cloud computing means that power is, and will be, more dynamic, moving data around the servers when “in the past, each server just took power”.
But data centres in their current format, using the traditional raised floor cooling methods, are unable to cope with this new phenomenon, Rasmussen said. “Over 90 percent of new data centres use raised floor cooling. My view is that is obsolete and irresponsible to do that, and people doing it now are probably going to regret it in the future,” he said.
Rasmussen said that traditional raised floor cooling is the main reason for inefficiencies in data centres, and that the advent of dynamic power is only going to make the situation worse.
“As the power moves around in the cases, the average power will go down, but when the power falls, the efficiency [in traditional data centres] get much worse. So you gain on the IT side, but you lose on the data centre side,” he said.
Although power management capabilities are already available in the hardware, Rasmussen said a number of factors were preventing people from taking advantage of them.
“Firstly, there is a lot of confusion about whether those functions interfere with the IT performance, so they disable it [the power management tool],” he said.
“Secondly, the application software is not designed to use the [power management] features, so it won’t let the server use them – for example, applications may have back processes to keep running, and these prevent the servers from going into a low power mode.”
Highly customised data centres also make it difficult to manage power, and Rasmussen believes that standardising the infrastructure will help to optimise their efficiency performance.
He added: “If all the infrastructure is standardised, I can then standardise the software and get more out of it.”