It looks like the power and cooling crisis has escaped the data center and is fast emerging as a front-of-mind challenge for C-level executives at technology companies. That’s the take from analysts and journalists, anyway, as seen in this week’s cover story in Information Week, which punctuates its point by curing on the cover. In addition to the usual discussion of liquid cooling at the rack level, the article examines technologies that focus on cooling the processor. “The (hot spot) problem is getting worse as tightly packed racks of servers raise temperatures ever higher, sending the industry scrambling to avoid a meltdown,” the story notes. Then there’s the new report from Gartner urging CIOs to “wake up to IT’s energy crisis.” Energy costs “could rise to more than 50 percent in the next few years. The bottom line is that the cost of power on this scale would be difficult to manage simply as a budget increase and most CIOs would struggle to justify the situation to company board members,” says Gartner research VP Rakesh Kumar.
Gartner hasn’t been right about everything, but if you need a second opinion about the rising cost of power and cooling, Equinix provided it with its Sept. 18 announcement earlier this week that it has dramatically increased the power and cooling requirements for its new Chicago data center. Equipment is getting more expensive as well, as Caterpillar, Cummins, Liebert and APC can attest with their recent price hikes.
What’s it all mean? If you’re in data center management and struggling with hot spots, it could be an opportunity to broaden/deepen the dialogue about the current challenges, what lies ahead and how to plan for it and pay for it.