Server Consolidation, Power Issues Are Hot Server Issues for 2006
March 13, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
No, none of the major server vendors wrote the following study, but they could have. According to a server study performed by TheInfoPro, a New York market research firm, server consolidation is the top priority for IT managers in 2006 and power and energy consumption are their biggest concerns.
The study, which is based on in-depth surveys of 133 large enterprises in the Global 2000 class, indicated that server utilization and energy issues are converging with the advent of inexpensive server virtualization to the point where in many IT manager’s minds, the two are becoming synonymous. Still, not everyone thinks that way yet. Some 40 percent of the respondents said that server consolidation was their top priority, with another 20 percent saying server virtualization was a top priority. Over 75 percent of the respondents said that server consolidation was very important or extremely important. About 38 percent of those surveyed said that power requirements in the data center were their greatest challenge, while 31 percent said that cooling requirements were. (The two are inextricably linked, which makes one wonder about the survey questions.)
And while blade servers were cited as being great for server consolidation, survey respondents said they were the worst offenders when it came to sucking up power and creating heat islands. Still, 44 percent of those surveyed said they had X86 or X64 blade servers in use, 21 percent have them in pilot, and 16 percent are making long-term plans that include blades.
“Server professionals are being pushed to achieve greater efficiencies and lower costs, which makes consolidation and virtualization natural paths to take,” said Bob Gill, TIP’s chief research officer in a statement accompanying the survey results. “Unfortunately, at the same time, many of the simplest consolidation approaches, such as loading up blades in a chassis, are creating a heat and cooling versus density tension that has data center managers up in arms. The use of virtualization software to consolidate on single blades or standalone systems, combined with increased attention to engineering more energy-efficient blade solutions, is what users are desperate for.”