Data center managers in North America increasingly are focusing on row-based solutions to alleviate concerns about availability, efficiency and rising heat densities, according to a recent survey of Data Center Users’ Group (DCUG) members. Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson (NYSE: EMR) and the global leader in enabling Business-Critical Continuity, announced the results of the semi-annual DCUG survey today.

The survey generated responses from more than 158 data center, facility and IT managers across the United States and identified four prevailing data center concerns among respondents: availability (53 percent), the ability to adequately monitor and manage data center infrastructure (52 percent), rising heat densities (47 percent) and energy efficiency (44 percent). Notably, 49 percent of respondents reported they have implemented or plan to implement a cold-aisle containment strategy in their data centers-indicating rapid and widespread acceptance of this relatively new row-based approach to improving the efficiency and performance of precision cooling systems.

In addition to being particularly well suited to address rising heat densities, cold aisle containment can deliver dramatic gains in efficiency when paired with row-based precision cooling, intelligent controls and high-efficiency virtualized IT equipment. In these types of configurations, adoption of cold-aisle containment can cut energy use by as much as one-third.

Free cooling is another key trend evidenced by the number of data center managers who are either planning to deploy air economizers or have already implemented them (32 percent); while 25 percent are still considering this technology.

“This year’s survey results continue to reflect the residual effects of many broader initiatives largely driven by the C-suite on data center management,” said Bob Miller, vice president, Emerson Network Power’s Liebert products business in North America, and a member of the Data Center Users’ Group board of directors. “As density, efficiency and availability demands continue to increase-in most cases without equitable gains in budget and staff-it has become more important than ever before for data center managers to champion the importance of effective data center management to drive awareness for these concerns and take adequate steps in optimizing for efficiency and density without compromising availability.”