As IT consumes more power, new tools emerge to control it

Data center infrastructure management tools are showing signs of answering the call of CIOs for better data center controls

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CIOs have started a strong push to make data center infrastructure, including power and cooling systems, as dynamic and flexible as the virtual systems it supports.

The effort has given rise to a new and fast growing category of tools that can provide IT managers with a complete view of their infrastructure that shows them how they are using power and even allows them to keep it sync with workload changes.

The need to improve controls on power usage is apparent.

Server densities continue to rise, and fully loaded server racks are seeing ever increasing power loads requiring 12, 24 and upwards of 30 kilowatts. Gartner estimates that it costs $1.6 million a year to power an 8,000-square-foot data center, and those costs, both in terms of demand and utility charges, are rising 10% a year.

Data center consolidation is also pushing IT managers to maximize space and extend the life of data centers as long as possible -- and to become green.

Meanwhile, virtualization technologies have turned data centers into resource pools that can expand, contract and dynamically shift as needed. And as the workloads move, so do the power needs of various servers.

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