Gartner: Improve use of existing data center space

The state of Washington decided to migrate its assets to a virtual environment, creating the need for a new data center. However, the planning of the facility was unsuccessful. 

During this process, the state made plans to consolidate more than 40 server facilities and construct a new 50,000 square foot, $255 million facility, according to ZDNet. However, four years later the project had yet to be completed, and the state discovered it didn't have the demand to fulfill the planned operational capacity of the facility. Only two of the four data halls are finished, and Washington only needs one. 

This case illustrates the effects that poor planning can have on a data center project, as well as shows the need for better utilization of existing data center space through vertical growth and higher density computing. Furthermore, Gartner data center research found that instead of investing in completely new facilities, businesses can adjust to growth by improving data center layouts.

The research firm advised that growth and capacity be viewed in terms of computing capacity per square foot or per kilowatt as opposed to a rudimentary measurement of floor space.

"A data center manager who rethinks his organization's floor plans, cooling and server refreshes can house the increased computing capacity on the original floor space, and help meet growing business needs indefinitely," stated Gartner research vice president David Cappuccio. "We will witness small data center environments with significant computing growth rates maintaining exactly the same footprint for the next 15 to 20 years." 

Cappuccio also pointed out that a main mistake that many data center operators make is basing estimates of future needs on the equipment and workload they currently deal with.

"This seemingly logical approach is based on two flawed assumptions," Cappuccio said. "That the existing floor space is already being used properly and usable space is purely horizontal."

In this way, data center operators should consider the vertical space of their facilities before considering a new structure. By rearranging server racks to take advantage of the upright capacity of the room, operators can significantly boost the efficiency of their space utilization.

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