Five server trend predictions for 2010

HP has recently celebrated its 20th year of producing multi-processor server products and gave insight into prominent trends the company expects to experience in the server market as we head into 2010. Andrew McNiven, Product Manager, Industry Standard Servers, and Rory Green, Sales and Business Unit Manager, Industry Standard Servers with HP South Africa, discussed the company’s predictions.

Convergence

Converged infrastructure will unify software, servers, storage and networking into a single solution. This simplifies the maintenance tasks and reduces maintenance costs for the IT department of the business, without visibly impacting the performance of the system, explained Green.

An example of such a converged system is the HP BladeSystem Matrix, said Green, which was introduced in 2009. Blade solutions provide the cooling, storage and connectivity requirements in the external housing of the servers. This allows for a simple expansion of the system as upgrades are required, without effecting the operation of the existing equipment.

Virtualisation

As the IT infrastructure of an organisation is converged, making good use of the pool of available resources will rely on the implementation of virtual operating systems. “Virtualisation in the server space is not a new concept,” explained McNiven, “but virtualisation has become mainstream, and will become a big decision factor for organisations.”

Scaling up and out

As organisations have to contend with rapidly growing data centres, they are looking to leverage a flexible IT infrastructure to maintain a competitive advantage. The ‘skinless’ server design will enable companies to expand their processing power requirements as they are needed, rather than expend large amounts on extensive upgrades that aren’t immediately fully utilised, but become inadequate as time goes by, explained McNiven.

Virtual server-to-network connections

While server infrastructure convergence and the use of virtualisation has lead to more agile and cost effective systems, it has also placed more strain on the network input/output requirements, which often necessitates upgrades. Utilising technologies such as HP’s Virtual Connect, companies can avoid the complications associated with server upgrades, such as maintaining network and storage connections during the upgrade process, explained McNiven.

Power management and cooling

“2009 was spent focusing on energy consumption and management, and this is likely to continue into 2010,” said McNiven. With increased server density, IT administrators are forced to make the best of available power and cooling systems in their data centres. There is an expectation of an upswing in the utilisation of sensors to automate the thermal monitoring, power usage, and cooling elements of operating a data centre.

With Eskom planning tariff increases over the new few years, Green said: “The tariff increases can be negated with best practices [in the data centre], essentially keeping the electricity bill flat. This may involve some initial investment – a look into virtualisation and best practices – but companies should look at this as an opportunity. The advantage comes when they have reduced their costs by 35% and their competitor hasn’t.”

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Five server trend predictions for 2010