A recent survey of data center users by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and its partners found that 23 percent of respondents were addressing rising power and cooling costs by building larger data centers, despite the rising costs of building new facilities.
"Data centers are not cheap," said Bruce Shaw, vice president of worldwide commercial and enterprise marketing at AMD, in his keynote address at Data Center World in Orlando. Shaw estimated that the cost of building a 50,000-square-foot data center will grow to $250 million in 2010, compared to just $20 million in 1990, and said the AMD survey was "a good indication that we're still throwing real estate at [the problem]."
If providers see new facilities as the solution, it's at least partly because vendors haven't moved quickly in addressing the heat loads generated by high-density computing, even though the issues were widely acknowledged as early as 2001. AMD's Shaw acknowledged that vendors have not been responsive enough, given the cost issues presented by rising power and heat loads.
"We understand pieces of the problem, but we don't get the big picture," said Shaw, who said vendors are making progress. Intel, AMD and others are putting more processing cores onto a single piece of silicon, which improves performance while not significantly cranking up the power consumption and heat generation.
Both Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., and AMD, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., are at dual-core now, and plan to introduce quad-core chips over the next year.