As someone who has edited publications dealing with energy for many years, the conclusions of a Gartner study conducted in April were startlingly familiar. Gartner wrote, "Data centre and IT managers are not paying sufficient attention to the process of measuring, monitoring and modelling energy use in data centres, according to a recent interactive poll conducted by Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that unless users start to create accurate dashboards, they will not be able to reduce energy costs and meet compliance requirements.
"The Gartner webinar conducted in April 2009 among more than 130 attendees from the infrastructure and operations (I&O) management found that although green IT issues remain at the top of the agenda, respondents consider vendor and green procurement a low priority activity for the next 18 months. Although 68 per cent of respondents thought data centre energy management is their most important green IT issue for the next 18 months, only 7 per cent consider green procurement and pushing vendors to create more energy efficient and greener solutions as their top priority.
"This finding is further affirmed in client conversations which reveal that, although the green IT and data centre energy issue has been on the agenda for some time now, many managers feel that they have to deal with more-immediate concerns before focusing attention on their suppliers’ products,” said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner. “In other words, even if more energy efficient servers or energy management tools were available, data centre and IT managers are far more interested in internal projects like consolidation, rationalisation and virtualisation.”
Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Data Centers Focus on Green, but Many Neglect Metrics." The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=1100315&subref=simplesearch.
The Green Data Center News reported these results, "A new Gartner Group study shows that environmental concerns are not driving IT purchasing, despite the fact those concerns are a top priority. That’s news that has to be discouraging to the technology companies making those new servers or tools, but it also makes perfect sense in this economy. It will be far easier for IT managers to gain approval at the corporate level for “green” projects that involve cost reductions
through more efficient use of existing resources, than for major new expenses with a payback down the road."
Data center operators and owners may be excused if they don't see these survey results as particularly noteworthy, but readers with experience in facilities will note that that these priorities have impeded green efforts in office buildings, hospitals, the retail sector, and industrial facilities, etc. for decades. These arguments have impeded the implementation of energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems as well as slowed the adoption of energy-efficient appliances. These arguments have proved fatal to efforts to improve energy efficiency in transportation.
These are the perils of short-term thinking.
Gartner said that two-thirds of respondents to its survey expect to face capacity issues over the next 18 months and that 15 percent will be building
new data centers next year as they are already at capacity. Energy efficiency should be baked in the cake of these facilities and solutions to capacity issues, but instead we'll be looking at lost opportunity, should current attitudes prevail.
These issues have dogged energy efficiency in most building types for many years, but the data center industry is capable of taking a longer-term view and moving forward with green activities.