Friday, January 4, 2008

Survey Results in on Data Center Energy Efficiency

Here at Cassatt, we recently completed a survey of IT and Facilities professionals regarding data center energy efficiency; we were trying to get a handle on how many are pursuing what types of efficiency initiatives, why they did so, and what data informed them in making decisions.

Some results were surprising, some not. But one thing is for sure: This is a rapidly-developing area with few hard facts available as enterprises develop their own strategies. Maybe this explains why there were so many related surveys in 2007: These included surveys from Emerson Network Power and the Data Center User's Group in Sept '07, Digital Realty Trust in Sept '07, and Symantec in Nov '07. I'm sure there are many others.

Follows are some interesting factoids from our own study:

  • Massive waste in Dev/Test: Looking at Development & Test labs, 30% of companies had 25% or more of their servers in Dev/Test. But consider this: Nearly 30% of those companies had over 60% of their Dev/Test servers idle during "off-peak" hours. And, fully 50% of companies had 20% or more of their serves idle in Dev/Test during off-peak. There's a lot of room for savings through Active Power Management here :)
  • Hitting the ceiling: Nearly 43% of companies have a data center within 25% of their maximum power capacity, and 25% of companies are within 25% of their maximum cooling capacity.
  • Motivation is still, ultimately, $: Even though we're talking about the benevolence of being "green," the strongest motivators for initiatives were still "Clear economic benefit" (68%) and "Constrained by power or cooling" (57%). But it's consoling to know that "Environmental responsibility" ranked reasonably well (39%)
  • Self-serving advice?: We also asked where users look for guidance. Who came out on top? Systems vendors (49%) and Power & cooling vendors (39%). Now maybe that makes sense, but maybe it indicates the wolf guarding the sheep. Why was it that "neutral" sources like EPA and EnergyStar (29% and 33% respectively) narrowly scored below Peers/colleagues (34%)? (where do those peers get their advice, anyhow?)
  • A little confused?: Also, an observation made by our friends at the Green Data Center Blog was that 61% of respondents were aware that the EPA recommends turning off idle servers to save energy -- but over 30% of respondents also said they didn't know how many servers are idle at any given time!
  • Poor self-image: And finally, only about 19% of respondents felt that their data centers were "better than average" -- either we had a lot of pessimistic respondents, or there's a lot of room in the market for improvement :)

No comments: