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Sun 6 Jan 2008 03:35 PM

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Feeling the chill

The Dubai chapter of DatacenterDynamics 2007 brought together some of the region's experts in IT and facilities along with a mix of end-users. But the hot topic of discussion at the one day event remained cooling inside the datacentre.

If there was one thing that dominated the DatacenterDynamics 2007 event's recent chapter in Dubai, it was the issue of power and cooling inside the datacentre.

The one-day event which was held in early December brought together experts in the areas of facilities management as well as IT technologies, along with a fair share of Middle East enterprises. Both areas of IT and facilities were extensively covered in their own separate halls at the gathering. The IT presentations covered everything from cables management to infrastructure deployment and administration, while facilities talks featured power and cooling concerns.

"We find this to be a good event to be present at. It is the right kind of crowd and it emphasises the growing importance of enterprise datacentres in the region," says Gautier Humbert, business development manager Gulf countries for structured cabling solutions at global cabling vendor Ortronics.

Even if one was not inclined to count heads, it was rather easy to make out that the facilities discussions were attracting nearly double the number of audience as the IT side.

The Middle East has so far been rather lucky with power considerations. In most of the western world, power has grown to be extremely expensive even as environmental considerations has given rise to regulations for controlling carbon across organisations. Unlike this state of affairs in the developed world, most of the Middle East has relatively low costs on power and since a majority of datacentres are greenfield ones, carbon emissions remain low on the priority list for enterprise management. So does power and cooling concerns.

But things are changing. According to most people who attended the event, the need to get the most out of IT investments is driving enterprise end-users to pay more attention to datacenter power and cooling.

"Power might still be inexpensive in this region, but organisations want to achieve optimal performance from their equipment and are therefore interested in solutions for power and cooling. With the increasing adoption of blade servers and high performance computing, this concern is only set to become bigger," points out Roy Zeighami, infrastructure director for Dynamic Smart Cooling at HP.

Many of the presenters also stated that enterprises in the region had to work on improving communications between the IT team and the facilities team in order to avoid the mistakes that have been made by their peers in the western world and to get the most out of their datacentres from day one.

The event also played host to a number of power and cooling vendors from outside the Middle East as well who had travelled to Dubai to attend the event, display their products and assess market potential for an eventual office in the region.

"We are actively looking at the region to set up office here. We are at this event partly to create a brand for us among end-users and partly to understand the potential in the market," says Andrew Peach, managing director of UK based Sinetica Corporation which provides solutions for monitoring and managing network infrastructure in organisations.

The event also had quite a few IT vendors exhibiting, a large proportion of them being cabling solution providers. The IT presentations brought together an eclectic mix of vendor solutions along with end-user stories of successful deployments in datacentres.

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