Power and Cooling Top of Mind at Dell

IT Trends

Kettler supplemented the discussion by covering the major IT trends as he sees them. The first of these, he said, is the penetration of x86 servers will continue into the enterprise. This obviously heartens Dell as it only offers x86 goods.

Further hewing the Dell party line, he intimated that scale-out will dominate over attempts at scale-up. This particular trend, of course, fits in with the company’s existing product portfolio. While other vendors are attempting to build mega-boxes that can be used to house dozens of virtual copies of smaller servers, he sees smaller scale-out machines as wining the day.

“Consolidation through virtualization is certainly an ongoing trend,” said Kettler. “But scaling out is a better way to achieve it.”

Another trend, he says, is that storage growth will continue unabated. He pointed to some statistics to support his assertion. According to International Data Corp (IDC) of Framingham, Mass., storage capacity worldwide is growing at a rate of 56% annually. Currently, it adds up to 4000 PB (petabytes). But by 2010, it will have risen to about 16000 PB.

He made his point with an example from one application running within the company.

“Dell has over 1 TB (terabyte) of storage on an EMC Symmetrix DMX 3000 disk array just to manage our supply chain system,” said Kettler. “This system is supported by eight Dell PowerEdge servers running Linux.”

Kettler further believes that just as x86 is winning out in the server space, IP will win out over Fibre Channel (FC) in the world of storage. The advent of 10 Gb Ethernet, he believes, will accelerate this trend. He takes it as far as IP developing into a unifying platform that encompasses IP SANs, InfiniBand clusters, FC SANs and Ethernet LAN’s. As a result, many more types of devices will have to connect into existing racks.

“Look for greater standardization of storage connector slots in future rack designs,” said Kettler. “These will be built in to handle any type of connector.”

These trends, he said, all tie back to the subject of power and cooling.

“Power and thermal demands are changing drastically within server rooms,” he says. “Any IT projects these days have to consider heat density as an important factor.”