Cooling, power continue to be pain points for end user data centre organisations: IDC

Aging data centres also cited as opportunity to upgrade

While the costs of power and cooling were still proving troublesome for data centre operators, the physical security of their facilities was an added driver for the current raft of data centre overhauls, a new IDC study has found.

The study, A Demand-side Survey of the Australian Data Centre Landscape, found data centre age, power, and cooling were pain points for organisations and the vast majority would look to rack, system, and facility offerings to retrofit, renovate, or upgrade their existing facilities.

IDC senior analyst, Trevor Clarke, said in a statement that overall, security was a concern for end user datacentre owners at the stack level and robust physical security of the datacentre at the mid-tier and enterprise level facilities was always a primary requirement.

Data centre age was a concern for operators because, according to IDC, Australia has some of the oldest data centres in the Asia Pacific region.

"Many organisations are finding that they need to modernise to keep up with the dynamic change in ICT and business requirements," Clarke said. "Additionally, there has been a focus on taking cost out of the datacentre for the last couple of years that remains prevalent today so upgrading or retrofitting can help achieve this goal."

He added that cooling was a concern because of rising energy costs and the impending Carbon Tax.

"Mid-tier data centre owners are most likely to adopt rack-level solutions including blanking panels in row cooling fans to improve air flow and cabling clean up," Clarke said. "At the system level, there is interest across data centre category and industry grouping in more energy efficient servers and power management tools."

The most popular strategies for upgrading included server consolidation and virtualisation, which reflected the view of IDC that Australia was a leading adopter of these technologies.

"Enterprise datacentre owners are the most interested in facilities-level offerings, in particular hot-aisle-cold-aisle architectures, increasing floor space, purchasing additional power, and modernising heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems," Clarke said.

"We believe there is demand for enterprise grade datacentre space and this is why we are seeing a raft of investments in the first six months of 2011 -- more than $2 billion," Clarke said. "The question in a couple of years will be whether the market goes from under to over supply due to all these investments and pushes the price per rack or square meter down."

IDC associate director, Matt Oostveen, said there were just over 90,000 end-user organisation data centres in Australia and the average age of the facilities was 7.7 years.

"Convergence of the IT and facilities departments is happening in some progressive organisations, but further integration is required for greater efficiencies to be realised," Oostveen said.

Although the Australian end-user data centre landscape was dominated by a high volume of server rooms and closets, the majority of IT spending went into a concentrated percentage of enterprise and mid-tier facilities, according to IDC.

"Whilst we are witnessing significant change in the supply side of the market with some large bets being placed by data centre service providers in 2011, the demand side will move at a slower pace and most organisations will upgrade existing facilities instead of building afresh in the next three to five years," Clarke said.

"The public and banking, finance, securities and insurance [BFSI] sectors make up just 18 per cent of all data centres in Australia but account for over 53 per cent of all IT spending.

"The mid-tier and enterprise facilities within the public and BFSI sectors constitute less than 1 per cent of the total number of data centres across the country but make up more than 35 per cent of all IT spending going onto the DC floor, or just over $1 billion for 2010."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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