Data centres failing on energy efficiency

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Nearly two-thirds of IT and facilities staff consider the energy efficiency of their data centre to be 'average' or 'worse than average', new research reveals..

A survey conducted by Cassatt Corporation found that the biggest source of energy wastage is in development and test environments.

More than a quarter of respondents said that more than 60 percent of their development and test servers are idle during off-peak hours.

However, 62 percent are working on a data centre energy efficiency projects now or expect to within the next year.

The Cassatt 2008 Data Center Energy Efficiency Survey revealed that virtualisation ranks highest on the energy-efficiency project list.

Some 69 percent of respondents are pursuing a server consolidation/virtualisation strategy, and nearly 49 percent are pursuing storage consolidation/virtualisation.

However, while nearly half of the companies surveyed need a payback on energy efficiency projects in under two years, organisations are primarily pursuing consolidation which is frequently a longer-term project.

More than half of respondents recognise the importance of more efficient equipment, according to the survey.

But only a quarter have plans to improve the efficient operation of that equipment with approaches such as active power management software to shut off unused servers.

The survey shows server power management to be a missed opportunity for many organisations, but a significant number are looking to complement long-term projects with techniques designed to deliver compelling short-term benefits.

"Many of the findings were expected, such as those that emphasise the data centre power crunch, the popularity of virtualisation as a potential solution, and the massive waste in development and test environments," said Bill Coleman, chairman and chief executive at Cassatt.

Less expected were the findings showing that many companies simply do not measure their power consumption at all, or do so at a very superficial level.

"If you cannot measure it, as they say, you cannot manage it. And it may be that companies are fixing only part of the problem with initiatives based on incomplete information," said Coleman.

"While organisations are showing a willingness to try some new ideas, many are still ignoring simpler solutions that could help them with energy efficiency almost immediately."
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