T H E R O L E O F G R E E N I N T H E D A T A C E N T E R

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E V E N T P R O C E E D I N G S R E P O R T

T h e R o l e o f ' G r e e n ' i n t h e D a t a C e n t e r i n A s i a / P a c i f i c :

C I O P e r s p e c t i v e s

Sponsored by: Samsung

Philip Carter Avneesh Saxena

Simon Piff Matthew Oostveen

September 2011

I N T H I S R E P O R T

This Event Proceedings document captures the key takeaways from the inaugural Asia/Pacific Data Center Leadership Council meeting jointly organized by IDC and Samsung on September 16 in Singapore. The roundtable was by invitation only and attracted an audience consisting largely of CIOs from a broad cross-section of industries across the Asia/Pacific region – India, Malaysia, Australia, Korea and Singapore. The session saw an open, spirited exchange of views on the state of the data center. Attendees also discussed the role of green IT across the infrastructure and information layers, and what this means for CIOs and IT departments across the region.

D A T A C E N T E R T R A N S F O R M A T I O N A S A

S T R A T E G I C I M P E R A T I V E

The economic and business landscape in Asia is changing quickly. While many expect the region to continue to drive growth in 2012, the extent of market volatility and uncertainty are driving IT departments to align to the changing business requirements much more dynamically than they ever have. To that end, the role that IT infrastructure plays in this respect is becoming increasingly important.

In line with what IDC is seeing in terms of corporate IT buying behavior in the emerging markets, it is clear that data center transformation is increasingly being seen as a vehicle for reducing investment costs for technology refresh programs that are essential for business transformation. This is particularly important for organizations looking to create new business models, enable enterprise agility, support collaboration, and reengineer business processes. IDC recommends that CIOs think about these changes in terms of changing the cost economics of IT, with a focus on automating service delivery, implementing standardization, and deploying new capabilities (particularly in the context of leveraging virtualization technologies). This is key as their Line of Business (LoB) peers will be asking questions about the impact of IT on the business as an enabler to enter new markets and to support the introduction of new flexible models to meet client demands.

T H E R O L E O F G R E E N I N T H E D A T A C E N T E R

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The typical IT manager mentality has been to provide an "always power-on" environment for all applications running in an organization. The impact in terms of energy costs has tended to be an afterthought. More recently, with the rapidly increasing electricity prices, the focus on the running energy costs of data centers and the overall IT environment is becoming a growing concern among CIOs and CFOs.

Up to this point, the majority of the focus in terms of improving energy efficiency from an IT perspective has been on the data center. This is because data center operators in a number of markets in the Asia/Pacific region are struggling to manage an ever expanding IT infrastructure as a result of growing business demands from strong performing markets in the region. Space and energy constraints are suddenly coming to light, posing significant operational risks to the business. Additionally as oil prices rise, and the corresponding electricity tariffs begin to climb at an ever-growing rate, the need to reduce electricity consumption in the data center will increasingly become a focus.

These problems are driving a number of organizations to try and understand the best way to measure energy efficiency throughout all aspects within the data center – with a focus on reducing the costs associated with powering and cooling the IT infrastructure and facilities.

C I O P e r s p e c t i v e s

To assess how these trends are playing out, IDC conducted a pre-event survey with the attendees from the Asia/Pacific Data Center Leadership Council. The objective of the survey was to understand the data center management practices of organizations with at least 750 servers located across the Asia/Pacific region. The survey was administered over the phone and via an online tool with 48 CIOs and datacenter managers between July and August 2011. This feedback was discussed during the meeting as part of two breakout tracks, as highlighted below:

What the Savvy CIO Needs To Know About Infrastructure Transformation – Where to start and where is the end?

The last few years have seen an increase in the level of concerns expressed by CIOs and data center managers about the efficiency in their data centers. The pre-event survey confirmed this, as highlighted in Figure 1. This concern stems from the increased importance of the data center in a progressive and competitive enterprise as well as the interest in new computing models such as cloud computing.

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F I G U R E 1

R e d u c i n g E l e c t r i c i t y C o n s u m p t i o n i n t h e D a t a C e n t e r a K e y C o n c e r n

Q. Do you measure and care about the power and cooling consumption costs for your IT infrastructure? (Single Response)

Source: IDC, 2011

IDC analysts Matt Oostveen and Avneesh Saxena facilitated a track on the topic "What Savvy CIOs Need To Know About Infrastructure Transformation – Where to start and what is the end." During this track, the vast and somewhat complicated topic of data center efficiency was tackled by the group as they shared their thoughts on the importance of their data centers. There is an old consulting adage that you cannot improve what you cannot measure, and based on this thought, delegates were asked about how much they really knew about power consumption in their data centers. The results were interesting: not many attendees were aware of the level of power consumption in their data centers. There are a few reasons. The first came from the group that used outsourced or co-location facilities where they were not responsible for power costs – why worry about a cost that belongs to an external provider? The second reason came from the group that did not have the appropriate tools to measure energy consumption. Many of the group were unaware of technologies such as data center infrastructure management (DCIM).

During the track on infrastructure transformation, data center efficiency was split into three categories starting from the facility level, the rack and row level, and finally the system level. At the facility level, energy-efficient designs such as free air cooling were discussed. However, there was a mixed response to this from the group. Those representing organizations from hotter climates such as the ASEAN nations were less impressed with the return on investment (ROI) from the extra buildout costs, but for representatives from countries in cooler climates such as Korea and China, the idea made far more sense.

At the rack and row level, there were more uniformed responses from the delegates. Hot and cold aisle containment systems were deemed to be useful tools for increasing energy efficiency, with one data center manager describing it as cooling the food in the fridge, not the entire kitchen. Many of the delegates were savvy in their

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The system level of data center efficiency includes technologies such as virtualization, blade form factors, and energy-efficient CPUs. The vast majority of data center managers in the sessions were utilizing some amount of server virtualization and blade form factor servers in their facilities.

This level of attention to efficiency measures expressed by so many was interesting. However, there was a feeling that energy efficiency techniques have been exhausted at this level. Lower power memory or "green memory" was highlighted as another potential avenue for these savvy data center managers to continue to drive efficiency into their facilities. The overwhelming response to the low-power memory option for was a yes, with a "but."

The implementation of the energy-efficiency techniques discussed – from efficient data center construction to green memory – was with the proviso that a realistic ROI had to be proved. No data center manager was willing to implement green technologies if there was no cost saving involved. Even organizations with corporate citizenship policies in place shunned away from such expenses.

In terms of the feedback on the private cloud journey, as can be seen in Figure 2, it is clear on the infrastructure front that the majority of organizations in the council discussion are looking to consolidate and integrate more of their shared infrastructure environment.

F I G U R E 2

C o n s o l i d a t i o n T o p s P l a n n i n g P r i o r i t i e s

Q. When planning for your infrastructure for the coming year, what sentiment is top priority?

Source: IDC, 2011

The end point of where organizations are heading is now increasingly being referred to as the private cloud – a consolidated, virtualized set of infrastructure resources (server, storage and network) that can be self-provisioned in an automated fashion – complete with SLAs that have the security, performance, availability, and cost profiles transparent to all in the form of a service catalogue.

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What the Savvy CIO Needs To Know About Information Management Transformation – Storing, Securing and Accessing Information Efficiently

IDC analysts Simon Piff and Philip Carter hosted a discussion with attendees on the issues and challenges of data storage platforms and information management. The groups were divided into two based largely on the size of their infrastructure according to server count. The discussions that followed revealed two somewhat different sets of issues.

For the most part, the discussion ranged quite broadly but the overriding topic that emerged across both groups was the issue that the segregation of the IT departments into infrastructure and application led to many issues and concerns. It was felt that the application teams (who were not present at this event) had little or no knowledge of concern with regards to the underlying infrastructure, which was the root cause of many issues.

IDC posed a number of issues for discussion and the feedback was varied and interesting.

The groups each had very different attitudes toward the growth of unstructured data as a serious issue within their organizations, with those with larger infrastructure more vocal in acknowledging the concerns. The other group, characterized by few servers, did not appear overly concerned about this, and were generally more worried about overall data growth (see Figure 3).

F I G U R E 3

C o n c e r n s o f S t o r a g e G r o w t h D u e t o U n s t r u c t u r e d D a t a

Q. How important is the role of unstructured data (documents, presentations, images, videos) in your current rate of storage capacity growth? (Single Response)

17%

27%

33%

23%

Not a consumer of storage and not a

major source of growth

Small consumer of storage today, but

growing rapidly

Significant consumer of storage (over

30%), and main driver of capacity growth

Primary consumer of storage capacity

(over 50%), and storage growth

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IDC would expect to see solid state disks appear (see Figure 4). Few organizations have made use of this technology, and were vocal about how happy they were with it, when used in a proper manner. Issues such as predictable upgrade paths and performance were cited. A small group was extremely concerned about this former issue of the read/write limitation of SSD and seemed unwilling to consider it because of what they had heard. That said, none spoke to have had done any further in-depth research or investigation, relying solely on what they had read or heard about in the press and on the Internet.

F I G U R E 4

M i x e d V i e w s o n T i e r e d S t o r a g e

Q. If your organization has a tiered storage infrastructure, what percentage of data is stored on the secondary or near line tier? (Single Response)

Source: IDC, 2011

When the discussion moved to issues and concerns about information, it also became somewhat livelier with many in the room being vocal about the unrealistic expectations of the business users. None of those present had a great deal of experience in this area, it being more application specific and this group being the infrastructure specialists.

More significantly was the concern of data security and integrity, and a lively discussion ensued on what and when defines secure data. At one point an existing SSD user touted the secure nature of SSD technology by saying that, when the disk is no longer useful (has been retired), it is also the most secure type of disk as breaking in two means it is no longer readable and if any data was left on the disk, it would no longer be accessible.

Overall, the mood can be summed up that storage infrastructure is a complex issue and one that does not get much attention from the business, other than attracting comments on cost control issues; however the business model, and especially the division between the infrastructure and application teams is likely to be the single

21%

17%

40%

23%

Do not use

Less than 20%

20-50%

Greater than 50%

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biggest concern and, if addressed correctly, will help remove potential adoption barriers and pitfalls.

E S S E N T I A L G U I D A N C E

Below is a summary of the areas that IDC believes CIOs in local, regional and global organizations should focus on as key takeaways from the discussions:

Incorporate green into the current strategy: There are case studies on how

being green can actually have a positive impact on the bottom line in terms of reducing the electricity bill, improving asset utilization, and streamlining operations. Therefore, this is an area where CIOs can squeeze out additional cost savings, while at the same time drive energy efficiency benefits within the data center.

Sort out the "core": There is significant opportunity to optimizing existing

infrastructure and information strategies by looking at ways to leverage new technology at the component level. Large global datacenter operators, such as Microsoft, are leading in this component right-sizing approach and have claimed 23% datacenter power savings simply by using the latest green memory component solutions as an example. While this is not going to be a "rip and replace" type of strategy, it will need to be incorporated into future procurement policies.

Governance versus enablement: IT is always looking to consolidate,

standardize and streamline. Some would say this would be trying to control too much, but the fact is that it normally contradicts business requirements for flexibility. This is where the reference architecture that IT has in place will ensure that standards are consistent across the various business departments. Further work needs to be done in certain areas (particularly in terms of taking some of attributes of the public cloud and internalizing them into more of a private cloud environment). But fundamentally, this platform should provide the necessary management and control that IT requires, while at the same time ensuring that the necessary flexibility is in place for what the business is trying to achieve.

Risk management & IT governance: As highlighted earlier, the common

denominator across the emerging cloud architectures and delivery models is the shift towards an approach where ICT resources are being delivered more broadly as a service with specific functionality and performance criteria, rather than the "take it or leave it" approach that is common with existing IT "services." As IT departments look to utilize the various delivery models – and the CIO becomes more of a "broker of services," the need to have a clear risk management and IT governance framework will become a necessity. It will also become clear that an IT service management agenda is critical to any cloud strategy to ensure the seamless delivery of services across the various delivery models.

Get the team right: The importance of having the right skills in Asia has never

been higher on the radar in the IT world. Identify specific job competencies that need to be recruited and further developed to meet the needs of the business.

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C o p y r i g h t N o t i c e

External Publication of IDC Information and Data — Any IDC information that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from the appropriate IDC Vice President or Country Manager. A draft of the proposed document should accompany any such request. IDC reserves the right to deny approval of external usage for any reason.

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