Emerson Network Power recently announced the results of its biannual Data Center Users Group (DCUG) survey. The survey results, which include responses from more than 170 data center, facility, and IT managers in North America, revealed growing concern regarding adequate monitoring and data center management capabilities as well as continued concern about data center availability and heat density.

“Adequate monitoring and management capabilities” was the No. 1 response to the question, “What are your top three facility/network concerns?” This marks the culmination of monitoring/management’s ascent up the list of issues. Three years ago, it placed sixth among the top issues. It climbed to No. 4 in the 2008 survey and ranked No. 3 in 2009.

Heat density and availability were second and third in the list of top concerns, followed by energy efficiency and power density. Heat density has remained a significant concern throughout the history of the DCUG survey, but declined 6% from last year when it occupied the No. 1 spot.

Availability dropped out of the top three in the spring 2009 survey as energy efficiency and heat density became more pressing concerns. However, following a series of high-profile outages, availability/uptime re-emerged in the top three — as the No. 1 concern, in fact — in the fall 2009 survey. It remained third in 2010 but showed a 6% increase compared to spring 2009.

Concerns about density and availability were validated when respondents were asked to list the issues they had experienced in the past 12 months. The No. 1 issue listed was “hot spots,” with 40% of respondents saying they had experienced this problem. This actually reflects a decrease over previous years — 53% said they experienced hot spots in 2009 and 45% in 2008 — but is still twice as high as the next issue cited, running out of power (26%).

Furthermore, 23% of respondents reported experiencing at least one power outage in the last 12 months. Reasons cited for the outages included weather, human error, and equipment failure, while costs were as high as $2 million. The survey also documents the continual issue of data center power densities, with 63% of respondents reporting the maximum power density per rack in their data center is 8kW or greater. In 2008, that number was 59%; in 2009, it was 67%.

Finally, the survey highlights the evolution in data center cooling as organizations deploy new and proven technologies capable of supporting higher densities and improving cooling efficiency. These include cold aisle containment (39%), fluid economizers (39%), air economizers (21%), and rack-based cooling (17%).

For more information on the DCUG, visit http://www.datacenterug.org. For more information on Liebert technologies and services from Emerson Network Power, visit www.Liebert.com.

Source: Emerson Network Power