With over 80 percent of the major data centres in Asia Pacific running at close to 90 percent capacity with space at a premium, data centre operators today struggle with high operational costs and the pressure to keep business efficient and profitable at the same time. According to technology analyst firm Ovum, the "sustainable data centre market will see accelerated growth in 2013 as it becomes more focused on cost savings, and provides more efficient internal IT delivery methods such as virtualisation".
This drive towards sustainability in data centre operations has given rise to several developments in the new year as follows:
• Energy efficiency is top priority for all data centre operators
We have observed a heightened focus on energy efficiency in the Asia Pacific region in 2012. This trend will likely continue to stay strong in 2013 as energy demand in Asia's developing economies is set to double by 2030.
In Singapore particularly, the IDA has projected that data centre space will grow by 50 percent in the next five years. This forecast, together with the fact that the 10 largest data centre operators in Singapore consuming more energy than 10 percent of Singapore's households, is likely to intensify energy demands. The rising cost of energy has been a key challenge for many data centre operators in 2012, as their energy bill makes up a significant portion of their operating budget, and we believe that improving energy efficiency will remain at the top of data centre operators' agenda in 2013.
In fact, according to a poll that Schneider Electric conducted among 118 Asia Pacific CIOs and IT managers, stakeholders in the region state that energy efficiency is a key concern when they are building new data centres and expanding operations. Eight out of 10 respondents also indicated that reducing data centre energy consumption is a significant focus for them.
• Size does matter, now more so than ever
With costs escalating, focus is turning towards optimising the data centre physical infrastructure (DCPI) and sizing it right to match the centre's current and future operations. Simple decisions made regarding the size and design of a new data centre can result in savings of up to 50 percent of the electrical bill and with systematic effort, one can even save up to 90 percent of the electric bill.
An oversized data centre drives unnecessary capital, maintenance, and energy expenses, which are a substantial fraction of its overall lifecycle cost. Most users don't realise that there are fixed costs in the power and cooling systems whether or not the IT load is present, and that these losses are usually proportional to the overall power rating of the system. When the data centre physical infrastructure is oversized, fixed losses become a larger portion of the electrical bill, hence reducing the data centre's overall energy efficiency.
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