Organisations should consider new trends in datacentre design when building facilities to maximise space and growth, according to a new report from Gartner.
The analyst firm said that these emerging trends should allow for 300 per cent growth in capacity in just two thirds of the space.
"There is a real and growing desire to increase productivity in datacentres, " said Dave Cappuccio, chief of infrastructure research at Gartner.
"Organisations are starting to take a serious look at ratios of compute power to energy consumed, and comparing them against estimated productivity of applications and the equipment to deliver that application."
Cappuccio said that many IT assets are being underused - for example x86 servers typically run at 12 per cent utilisation and racks at 50 to 60 per cent capacity - and that there is clearly room for improvement.
Equipment had been spread out to improve cooling, but it is now necessary to draw it closer together, which increases demand for power and cooling.
Within three years, the cost of providing energy to a server will be greater than the cost of the server, meaning that companies must draw as much capacity from their resources as they can, or risk wasting power and money.
"Idle machines sitting on the datacentre floor during off peak hours will be a thing of the past. At current energy rates, a 40kW rack could cost upward of $5,400 (£3,385) per server per year," said Cappuccio.
"The new datacentres are not like the old ones. Organisations need to make a break with the past, and realise that innovation in datacentre design will reduce capital and operating expenditure. Think small, think dense. The objective is the highest compute performance per kilowatt."
Gartner offered a number of recommendations, including rack-based cooling alongside high-density equipment which could reduce energy consumption by around 15 per cent while increasing scalability.
Physical locations should be "right-sized" and expanded only when needed. By keeping datacentres and servers at reasonable levels, firms will be able to reduce long-term spend by as much as 30 per cent, said Gartner.
Virtualisaton should also be used as much as possible. Cappuccio reserved special attention for x86 servers, explaining that they should be pushed to as high utilisation levels as possible.
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