IT Shops Worried About Energy, But Cutting Power Isn’t Happening
April 21, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
With energy costs on the rise on all fronts and data centers running out of room and power to add more servers, the idea of getting green in the data center–conserving energy if possible or getting the most work out of the energy used in computing complexes–has certainly taken hold in the psyches of both the board room and the white noise room. But according to a recent survey, few companies are actually doing anything about it beyond thought.
BlueArc, one of a number of upstart vendors of virtualized, power-efficient network storage arrays, recently commissioned a survey of data center managers, which was performed by the Business Performance Management Forum. The results of the survey were published in a report called Lean & Green–Reducing IT Energy Drain for Business Gain, and clearly BlueArc and the BPM Forum are keen in using the results of the survey to call IT managers into action, not contemplation. The survey polled over 150 IT managers in an online survey in February, and then BPM Forum did some deeper interviews to flesh out the survey results. This poll pool is a bit skinny, and you will have to judge for yourself if it is statistically significant.
Here’s what the survey respondents said. Some three-quarters of those IT shops polled gave themselves a C or lower grade for their ability to control energy consumption in the data center. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said that they have no plans in place to green their data centers. This is a big issue, in terms of money, with 8 percent of those participating in the survey saying they spend more than $8 million annually on electricity to power their data centers, and just under 20 percent saying they spend more than $1 million. Some 20 percent of the IT shops polled said they had set a goal of cutting electricity use by 5 percent in 2007, and nearly two-thirds had set an impressive goal of cutting power use by 25 percent. Here’s the sad bit: half of the IT shops said their power usage actually increased in 2007, even as electricity prices were rising and they were hoping to rein it in. Within the pool of survey respondents, 46 percent said they have run out of space, power, or cooling in their data centers.
I smell a consulting opportunity coming on. . . .
“The results of the study point to a gap between what IT leadership knows it needs to do and what it has accomplished to date in terms of environmental responsibility,” explained Derek Kober, director of the BPM Forum. “In polling the marketplace and talking with industry leaders, we have heard that there are opportunities for those that deliver on the environmental promise to also save substantial costs and drive revenue opportunities through more efficient and enhanced data performance practices.”
See? I told you.