PlanNet’s Steve Miano, was quoted in an article by Michelle Savage discussing Next-Generation Data Center (NGDC).

Ask any three data center professionals to define a next-generation data center (NGDC), and you’re likely to get more than three different answers. Most would agree, however, that the NGDC is more flexible, less expensive to operate and better aligned with business goals than the “modern” data centers that existed five years ago.

Many enterprises today are powered by data centers that were built for outdated technologies, requirements and equipment. Data center professionals are finding that to meet mounting operational and capacity demands, they must build new data centers or remodel the existing ones.

Enter the NGDC, which Bob Seese, chief data center architect of Advanced Data Centers, said is “designed to be very energy efficient and located in an area of low-cost energy and immunity to natural disasters.”

“The NGDC was born of necessity; things just couldn’t continue the way they were,” said Steve Miano, managing partner at PlanNet Consulting. “Just as load demand has grown at astonishing rates, construction costs have soared over the past several years. Building and operating a data center are incredibly expensive, and as a critical business investment, organizations are carefully studying ways to reduce costs and get the most from the expense. This has driven some organizations to look to nontraditional markets when selecting a site, including areas of cool climate, cheap power and lower disaster risk.”

Miano said NGDCs are unique in that they are designed to be adaptable to rapid shifts not only in IT equipment, but also in power backup and distribution methods, and particularly the myriad technologies now deployed to cool high-density heat loads.

“Considering that power typically constitutes one-third or more of operating expense, striving for a lower power usage effectiveness is a good place to start,” said Miano. “PUE is the ratio of total data center power to power draw. Historically, the figure has hovered around 2.0, which means the data center is providing 2 watts of power for every 1 watt of draw. Today, the state of the art—which many organizations are achieving—is a PUE of 1.20. On top of energy efficiency, NGDCs incorporate green design, virtualization, scalable infrastructure and strict operations governance.”

Five years ago, data centers were designed very differently, experts say, as companies were dealing with the emergence of high-density data centers in fits and starts. “We were not convinced, as an industry, that 10kW-and-up cabinets would become a reality for wide-scale deployment,” said Miano. “We were hesitant to make the investment in support systems to accommodate high density. Now it is upon us, and there is no question that most modern data centers need to accommodate high density.”

Another key difference is that data centers are no longer growing out of their white floor space as regularly as they were in the past. On the contrary, with high-density servers, such as blades, disk storage, consolidation and virtualization, the need for floor space is actually decreasing. “However, the watts-to-power and tons-to-cool per rack are going way up, driving a need for increased real estate, and utility capacity for power and cooling support equipment outside the white space,” said Miano.