Poor planning blamed for lack of data centre space

Over a third of enterprise data centres run out of space because of poor capacity planning, according to a new survey.

According to the study of 100 enterprise data centres throughout the world and across different industry sectors, 37 per cent of those surveyed admitted they had run out of space, power or cooling capacity without sufficient notice in the last two years.

Only 6 per cent considered they were 'excellent' at predicting when additional space or power infrastructure will be needed, with 10 per cent describing their abilities as 'poor' and 27 per cent as merely 'fair'.

The study found that managing data centre capacity is a significant challenge, with many companies unable to predict their capacity needs accurately. 41 per cent of those surveyed said their capacity planning procedures were poor (11 per cent) or fair (30 per cent). Only 20 per cent considered their procedures to be great (14 per cent) or excellent (5 per cent).

The top five challenges, chosen by respondents as high priorities in managing the data centre's capacity were; limitations on cooling capacity, limitations of the power distribution system, achieving sufficient airflow through racks, assessing future infrastructure needs and the amount of total power delivered from the utility.

William Clifford, CEO of the Aperture Research Institute, which carried out the study, said management of the applications layer of the data centre is already mature, "but our research shows that many data centres still struggle to manage the physical constraints of the environment."

"It's shocking that so many data centres have run out of space and consider their ability to plan future capacity needs to be inadequate," he said. "The only thing you know for certain is that businesses and demands on the data centre change, and successful data centres are those that can handle that change."

He said that he expected capacity to be a problem ten years ago, but the introduction of power hungry technologies like blade servers "is changing that."

"The next generation of data centres will have to accommodate far greater cooling and power distribution requirements than many of today's legacy data centres were designed to handle," said Clifford.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.