Data centres slow to green

Symantec's Green Data Centre report has shown that just one in seven companies have taken steps to become more energy efficient.

While most companies are interested in greening their data centre, just one in seven have started to do so, according to Symantec's Green Data Centre report.

Three-fourths of respondents said they were interested in implementing a green data centre initiative, but few have done so.

"We thought more people would have gotten started," said Amanda Jobbins, vice president of Symantec. "We're surprised by the number of companies not yet having implemented this, especially because data centres are a huge user of energy."

But she added: "Right now, quite often the data centre manager is not responsible for their own electricity bill."

Server consolidation and virtualisation were the most popular methods of cutting energy use in data centres, with half of participants planning to use those methods. Other strategies include storage resource management, server management and data deduplication.

Deduplication software looks for copies of a file saved over and over again in different locations.

Jobbins added that many servers are only 30 per cent full, and that simply by using clustering or management software, that can be increased to 70 per cent, negating the need to buy more hardware. Indeed, she said many data centre managers simply buy a new server when they run out of room, without looking to see how much room they actually have. "It's kind of like adding lanes to a freeway without even knowing what you have," she said.

Hardware remained an important aspect, however, especially the use of energy efficient CPUs. Those surveyed also said they were considering replacing old hardware with energy-efficient equipment, recycling obsolete hardware components, monitoring power consumption and reducing the space used by servers.

"Awareness of how to go about it is quite low, so we believe data centre managers are only considering hardware options, which are long-term, expensive options," said Jobbins.

While Asian companies are slightly more likely to have corporate green policies than European or American firms, the latter are more likely to use server consolidation and virtualisation.

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