In a cryptic blog post last week titled The Death of Yesterday's Datacenter, Sun Microsystems Inc, CEO Jonathan Schwartz asked, "Why bother with data centers at all?"
The post was preamble to a Sun event that will be held tomorrow in Menlo Park, Calif. Schwartz plans to outline an alternative to traditional data centers at the event. Executives will also address the company's virtualization strategy.
The idea to revisit the concept of the data center is not new. IBM has touted its BladeCenter offerings as a data center in a box. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) recently outlined its strategy for the next generation data center as well.
The companies are working toward new data center designs as users push power and cooling limits in the traditional data center model.
IBM announces services to combat data center energy problems
IBM Corp. has five new services designed to help data centers deal with their increasing power and cooling costs. Dell Inc. launched a similar service offering last year.
IBM's services are focused on high-density servers, which generate more heat per square foot because of the small form factor. The services include:
A study by The Uptime Institute, which has a four-tiered system that determines how reliable one's data center is, found that data centers spent 39% more in electricity between 1999 and 2005 but that much of it was being wasted by problems, such as overcooling some areas but missing others.
IBM said it has 450 site and facilities experts who have built more than 30 million square feet of raised floor for customers and IBM.
Data centers weighing energy costs
A study commissioned by Sun found that many data center executives are looking at the energy efficiency of products they might buy but still don't know exactly how much electricity their data centers are sucking up.
The study was done by Harris Interactive Inc. and asked 200 IT executives whether energy costs were weighing in on purchase decisions. Three quarters of them said yes. Yet 38% of them said they didn't know how much they were spending on electricity.
Meanwhile, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with major manufacturers to develop a standard for how to measure the energy efficiency of certain servers.
In addition, the U.S. Senate is mulling over a proposed House bill that would require the EPA to study the matter and make possible legislative suggestions. The bill is currently sitting in a Senate subcommittee.
ERP market booming
The enterprise resource planning (ERP) market is expected to grow at 10% each year over the next five years, according to a recent report.
Boston consulting firm AMR Research reported that ERP solutions are attractive to businesses that need integrated information systems. The company predicted that ERP software would be a $29 billion market this year, up 14% from $25.4 billion last year. SAP is the leader in the market. Oracle was second but had the fastest growth, 29%, in the last year.
SAP and Oracle cover 66% of the market share and are followed by Sage Group PLC, Microsoft and SSA Global Technologies Inc.
OpenVZ opens up to Power
OpenVZ, an operating system-level server virtualization project, is now available for machines using IBM's Power processor.
The project, supported by software company SWsoft Inc., also supports x86 and 64-bit processors. In addition to making the project available on the Power chip, the manager of the OpenVZ project said it is working on making it available on more processor architectures down the road. IBM uses Power processors in its System p, System i and some BladeCenter servers.
OpenVZ is open source software built on Linux that creates virtual server environments on a single physical server. The project has also created templates to help users create and provision their virtual servers quickly. More information on the project is at openvz.org/download.