Friday, 6 August 2010

The green data centre market - $40bn by 2015

If my comments on data centres yesterday were of interest then you might want to know that Pike Research has just released a report on green data centres.

The report points out that the evolution of the ‘green’ data centre is closely connected to other changes which all have an impact, including technical innovation, new design principles, operational improvement, changes to the relationship between IT and business and changes in the data centre supply chain.

In the past the main concerns in running a data centre were availability, performance, security and resilience and these still are important. Increasingly, though, these aspects need to be delivered within new constraints on resources and under new demands in terms of the services provided. Consequently data centres will become more energy-efficient, more dynamic - to have the flexibility to adapt to new business needs and technologies - and virtualised, to ensure optimal use of resources.

The report forecasts that the revenue from green data centres will exceed $40bn worldwide by 2015. North America and Europe will lead the way in the short term, but the Asian market will catch up quickly as its data centre capacity grows.

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The report identifies a number of trends shaping the market, including:

• While the industry has, in the past, indiscriminately built out new capacity to meet requirements, it is now being forced to consider the physical environment and natural resources on which it depended and the costs they represent.
• The trend over the next five years will be a move toward a total virtualisation of the data centre to deliver computer services from both public and private cloud models.
• As IT provision becomes more dynamic under the influence of virtualisation and cloud computing, so a more dynamic view of data centre infrastructure is emerging – flexible and adaptable.
• This new infrastructure environment will require more sophisticated management tools and a holistic view of the entire
ecosystem.
• The green agenda means that the data centre is part of a broader sustainability program and true cost must be made more visible.
• The cost of the data centre can only be fully assessed if both the resources it uses and the work it does can be measured. Work is being done to define an acceptable measure for the productivity of the data centre.
• A more industrialised view of data centre design, including modularisation, is being adopted. The state-of-the-art data centre is evolving to be a green data factory. (See our report yesterday).

The report points out that the changes to data centres are inevitable, but the rate of change is hard to predict. In the case of data centres I believe that legislation will probably have the biggest impact.

There’s lots of activity to reduce energy use in business but in the case of data centres it tends to be one-off, quick wins. As IT use in business continues to expand (and is used to help reduce emissions elsewhere) there’s a need for longer-term measures that may only be dictated by legislation. For example the CRC cap-and-trade scheme in the UK is pulling in a lot of companies simply because of the energy used in their data centres. Companies stand to lose money and feel the impact on their reputation by such legislation.

© The Green IT Review

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