Getting Greener, and Monitoring More

Data centers are making progress on energy efficiency, AFCOM says, but a large percentage of green initiatives remain informal and a significant number of data center operators admit to procrastinating on efficiency measures.

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Data centers are making progress on energy efficiency, but a large percentage of green initiatives remain informal and a significant number of data center operators admit to procrastinating on efficiency measures.

Those are the key findings of a survey released today by AFCOM, the largest association for data center professionals. In a survey of 436 of its 4,500 member sites, AFCOM reported that progress is being made on energy efficiency, but much work remains. The good news: more data centers are measuring their energy usage and montoring their data center operations.

The survey found that 71.3 percent of respondents are actively engaged in "greening" initiatives, but that only 42 percent of those had a formal program in place.  What steps are they taking?

  • 61 percent are using less power in their data centers
  • 51 percent report implementing cooling efficiency strategies
  • 12 percent report significant savings in water usage

Government data centers are lagging the private sector, according to the AFCOM survey, which found 62 percent had greening programs, but just 36 percent had formal initiatives. 

"The surprise here is that one would expect government agencies to lead the way in terms of protecting the environment, but when it comes to saving energy and water, private industry is 10 percent more proactive," AFCOM said in its analysis.

Data center operators report a variety of obstacles to implementing energy efficiency strategies. Thirty nine percent reported not having enough money in their budget to purchase more energy-efficient equipment, while 29.6 percent blamed procrastination, saying they were "paying lip service" to the issues while not moving ahead with efficiency projects. Another 22 percent said they have not been able to get a clear commitment from management.

One of the bright spots in the survey was the adoption of performance monitoring by AFCOM members. Power consumption is now being monitored by 68 percent of respondents, network traffic by 65 percent, storage capacity by 64 percent, server utilization by 61 percent and Web security by 54 percent.

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