Data center and IT managers are not paying sufficient attention to the process of measuring, monitoring and modelling energy use in data centers, 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 percent of respondents thought data center energy management is their most important green IT issue for the next 18 months, only 7 percent 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 center 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 center and IT managers are far more interested in internal projects like consolidation, rationalization and virtualization."
Despite this apparent lack of concern for the measuring and monitoring of energy use, around 63 percent of poll respondents said that they will face data center capacity constraints in the next 18 months. More importantly, 15 percent said that their data centers are already at capacity and will be forced to build new sites or refurbish existing sites within the next 12 months.
Gartner said that energy management (both in terms of capacity and cost) can only be effective through advanced monitoring, modelling and measuring techniques and processes. However, when asked which energy management metrics they will use in the next 18 months, 48 percent of respondents have not even considered the issue of metrics. However, without metrics it is impossible to get accurate data, which is essential to evaluating basic costs, proportioning these costs to different users and setting policies for improvement.
"These metrics form the bedrock for internal cost and efficiency programmes and will become increasingly important for external use," said Mr Kumar. "Organisations that want to publicize their carbon usage through green accounting principles will need to have their basic energy use continuously monitored."
Mr Kumar also urged organizations not to rely on internal metrics saying that evaluating server energy needs to be done in an open and transparent manner.
In order to include metrics, measurement and modelling in a data centers's green IT strategy, Gartner recommends that data center and IT managers implement the following recommendations with immediate effect:
Raise the temperature at the server inlet
point up to 71 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), but use
sensors to monitor potential hotspots.
Develop a dashboard of data center energy-efficient metrics that provides appropriate data to different levels of IT and financial management.
Use the SPECpower benchmark to evaluate the relative energy efficiencies of the servers.
Improve the use of the existing infrastructure through consolidation and virtualisation before building out or buying new/additional data centre floor space.
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
Additional best practices for new data center construction and retrofits will be discussed at the Gartner Data Center Conference 2009, taking place December 1-4 in Las Vegas. For more information please visit www.gartner.com/us/datacenter.
Members of the press can register for the Summit by contacting Christy Pettey at email@example.com.
Gartner, Inc. is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com