How Blade Servers and Virtualization Changed Data Center Design Dynamics

Floor space reduction in IT environments has been made possible by adoption of blade servers and virtualization. These new technologies paved the way for compact data center facilities that would also appear to require less maintenance costs. Let’s have a closer look.

Blade Servers and VirtualizationsToday, blade servers allow for more and more servers per rack. Blades can run multiple virtual servers on a single physical server using virtualization platforms like VMware. Previously, many servers could only utilize 10% of capacity and a single operating system. Today, virtualization and blade servers combined allow for 80% utilization for servers, along with multiple software platforms supporting several operating systems at the same time!

This combination of blade servers and virtualization, however, creates new and complex needs: higher power requirements and more cooling. Higher power and cooling requirements can drive up data center operating costs geometrically. Facility managers as well as IT operation managers need to work together to solve the complex and expensive problems associated with power and cooling systems.

Power and cooling management is not IT. Many companies do not have the in-house expertise to maintain these new power and cooling environments. Some companies hire power and cooling expertise and purchase capital equipment like generators and battery backup systems. Some use contractors to help design and support their power and cooling infrastructure. Some of these companies turn to colocation facilities (outsource data centers) to solve their power and cooling problems. With colocation, the company IT staff still has full ownership and control of the IT, but they hand over the power and cooling problems to the colocation facility’s in-house experts.

The evolution of new age technologies like blade servers and virtualization has changed the way data centers are conceived today. Blades and virtualization need more power and cooling. More power and cooling means more capital and operating costs, along with more collaboration between IT and the facilities managers.

Not sure if you or your building manager can effectively handle the power and cooling side of the data center? Call the Midwest data center experts.