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The Future of Data Centers



24x7 Mission Critical Facilities Will Be Driven by Location, Total Cost of Ownership, Energy Efficiency, and Sustainability

(New York, NY, November 2008) – A new white paper on mission-critical facilities from a top business-continuity-planning and disaster-recovery expert at Tishman Technologies Corporation offers a look into “data centers of the future,” stating that their deployment will be driven not by capacity needs and geographic site selection alone, but by the total cost of ownership, the efficient utilization of power, and the mitigation of heat.

Developed by Ronald H. Bowman, Executive Vice President of Tishman Technologies, and author of the new book, Business Continuity Planning for Data Centers and Systems, the white paper presents fresh perspectives on data centers and the facilities of the future that will support the increasingly integrated United States and global economy.

Events in recent years, such as hurricanes, cascading blackouts, wildfires, terrorist events, floods and seaport outages, have challenged the conventional wisdom of siting data centers solely in urban or near-urban environments, and support new and emergent data points on potential system interruption and the high total cost of ownership in those regions, Mr. Bowman alleges.

While on-site and near-urban synchronous data centers necessary for real-time applications are vital to operations, Mr. Bowman says that equally important for businesses are remote-location data centers, for backup and asynchronous applications. He adds: “Virtualization for most applications is now extremely reliable, and cloud-computing remote processing is realistic for asynchronous, low-cost, strategically located assets. Data triangulation between on-site, near-urban and remote data centers is the key to an effective system.”

Future of data centers driven by Total Cost of Ownership

Mr. Bowman asserts that the future of data centers will be driven by Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), including energy efficiency and right-sizing of facilities, i.e. “don’t build more than you need.” He says: “This is not a new idea but is growing in importance.”

Bowman warns: “Data centers face the impact of high costs of energy and wasted kilowatts of power due to poor computer utilization, inefficient design and distribution, unused or legacy applications, and software/hardware adjacencies.” He adds: “Over the past five years, while the energy expenses associated with operating these facilities have soared more than 100 percent in many parts of the U.S., firms have been forced to do ‘as much with less.’ Aggressive ‘data mining’ and energy treasure hunts became priorities. It’s time for a paradigm shift.”

Mr. Bowman elaborates on some of the features that will factor most heavily in data centers:

“Green” data centers viable and deployable

Bowman holds that green data centers are not only viable, but also deployable. “The Data Center of the Future will include more creative designs incorporating simple, data-efficient technologies,” he says. “At IT conferences, we are seeing less discussion of hot aisle/cold aisle, and heat evacuation and more on the topic of ‘greening’ data centers. While they can be financially challenging; many green solutions are viable and currently doable.”

Heat reduction a new strategy

Bowman predicts: “Collectively, we see the warming of the data center by five to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few years. Adding a chiller and adding to the budget—vendor-serving solutions that many data center users subscribe to—is like putting ice cubes in an oven. The new, more sensible strategy is to reduce the waste product of energy, which is heat. One way of doing that is utilizing more efficient chips, ones that work without firing on all modules at once. They run cooler and save energy.”

New thinking for data centers: decentralized power solutions

Bowman sees a looming national crisis involving data centers, their unchecked energy needs, and the domestic economy. “Energy limitations in certain regions of the U.S. are real,” he says. “Demand is outpacing supply with the decommissioning of both fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, and it is outpacing eco-friendly renewable or low-carbon sources. Data centers are currently responsible for over two percent of the entire U.S. energy consumption, but that rate is growing 25 percent year over year.”

Bowman states: “The Data Center of the Future will utilize decentralized solutions—co-generation, hydrogen, geothermal, methane and other self-help methods—to power the facilities. Asynchronous data centers will be in certain regions of the world, where the geographic location would enhance the total cost of ownership and satisfy other reliability considerations. Users will look favorably to Iceland, Norway, Africa, Eastern Europe, or island countries with geothermal energy.”

In summary, Bowman offers his predictions for the data centers of the future:

“Look for smaller, synchronous data centers near urban environments to house only critical applications, due to high energy and maintenance costs in those locations. These data centers will be reasonably close to primary functions to utilize high-speed telecommunications fiber-optic transmission conduit that executes at the speed of business. Look for larger and asynchronous data centers, to support cloud computing, critical application functions, and storage, in non-urban, low-cost areas of the world.”

About Ronald H. Bowman, Jr.:

Mr. Bowman has extensive international experience in up-time critical data and telecommunications centers, having served as a project manager on trading floor and data center installations in some of the world’s most competitive markets, including New York, London, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Paris and Shanghai, among others. Throughout his career, Mr. Bowman has managed 50 trading floor and 100 data center installations for such companies as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, E-Speed, Cantor Fitzgerald, DLJ, Mitsubishi, Charles Schwab and others.

About Tishman Technologies: Tishman Technologies is a national leader in location analysis, planning, construction and commissioning of 24/7 data centers and technology infrastructure for companies such as Bank of America, Reuters, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of New York.

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