Gartner’s data on energy consumption, virtualization, cloud

Gartner‘s 27th annual data centre conference is producing no shortage of research related to energy consumption, virtualization, cloud computing and other hot enterprise topics. Here are some of the most interesting numbers revealed by Gartner research and polls of conference attendees.

Forty-two per cent of IT professionals polled at the Gartner conference operate three or more data centers in North America.

Forty-five per cent are expanding or planning to expand data centers in the next two years, while 43 per cent are consolidating.

A standard 9,000 square foot, Tier 3 data centre that supports 150 watts per square foot will cost approximately US$21.3 million to build, with US$1 million in annual electrical costs.

Green IT practices that minimize use of chiller plants, fans and pumps, lighting and power supplies can more than halve the power costs of running a data centre.

An aggressively “green” enterprise will pay US$560,000 in annual electrical expenses for a data centre with a 500 kilowatt IT load. Enterprises with archaic data center practices will pay as much as US$1.3 million.

In a conventional data centre, 35 per cent to 50 per cent of electrical energy is devoted to cooling. With best practices, that proportion is reduced to 15 per cent.

Twenty-six per cent of conference attendees buy green products only when they lower costs, save space or defer data center construction. Thirty-four per cent will buy green products even if they increase costs.

Storage spending is growing almost three times faster than the IT budget as a whole. From 2007 to 2011, storage spending will increase more than 7 per cent a year, compared with annual IT budget growth of only 2.5 per cent.

By 2012, users will install 6.5 times the amount of terabytes they installed in 2008.

Server virtualization, one of the key technologies driving costs down in data centers, is suitable for about 70 per cent of workloads.

Today, only 12 per cent of x86 server workloads are running in virtual machines. By 2013 that number will be 61 per cent.

One out of every four x86 workloads deployed or redeployed in 2008 is being installed in a virtual machine. Still, vendor licensing, pricing and support plans are limiting virtualization efforts, according to 21 per cent of conference attendees.

About 70 per cent of virtual machines today are used in production. Just a few years ago, most were used only in test and development roles.

The server virtualization market will grow 30 per cent a year through 2013, reaching US$6.8 billion.

Desktop virtualization will also take off, with the number of virtualized PCs growing from less than 5 million in 2007 to 660 million by 2011.

Only two major server operating systems will experience significant growth through 2010 — Windows and Linux. But lightweight operating systems will take off with double-digit growth, including JeOS, a variant of Ubuntu configured specifically for virtual appliances.

Thirty-eight per cent of conference attendees are using some type of external cloud computing service.

By 2012 at least 14 per cent of the infrastructure at Fortune 1000 companies will be service-oriented, scalable and elastic — operated as if it they were “private clouds” for each company’s users.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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