CDW, a US technology solutions provider (38th on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies) has just released the latest of its annual Energy Efficient IT Reports. The report series was launched in 2008 to study attitudes, identify successful cost-saving measures and understand barriers to the adoption of energy efficient IT. The full report is here.
The 2010 study surveyed 756 IT professionals in medium and large businesses and public sector organisations in the US. Headline results include:
• 39% of IT managers believe that energy efficiency is a very important consideration when purchasing new IT equipment.
• Two-thirds of IT managers say understanding best practices in energy efficient IT is critical to their profession.
• 79% of organisations currently have or are developing a data centre consolidation strategy.
• 76% report they are deploying some kind of innovative approach to reducing energy use, including deploying more power efficient switches and using the network as a platform to manage energy use.
• 74% of organisations have or are developing programmes to manage and reduce IT energy use.
But underneath these headline figures the data is less positive. For example, the main data centre consolidation reason is to reduce expenditure on hardware, software and operations, rather than reducing energy consumption. And of those that have or are developing programmes to reduce energy use, only 56% have reduced their costs by 1% or more, which means that just 41% of the sample as a whole have reduced energy use by 1% or more – not a great achievement.
The study also found that percent of IT managers who know what portion of their IT budget is spent on energy increased from 50% in 2009 to 57% in 2010, but that only 48% are incentivised to reduce IT energy costs with awards, bonuses and/or rebates.
The top energy-saving measures used by the 41% of the sample with a power-management programme that have reduced IT energy costs by 1% or more were:
1 Migrate monitors from CRTs to LCDs (65%)
2 Buy servers and other data centre equipment with lower- power processors (64%)
3 Buy computers with low-power processors (59%)
4 Make full use of the power management tools in desktop computer operating systems (51%)
5 Redesign data centres to balance equipment and cooling needs (43%)
The research gives the impression of a wide, but fairly thin level of concern and action around green IT. The main measures being taken seem to be a fairly minor adjustment to business as usual – moving from CRTs to LCDs is a product evolution rather than an energy-saving choice, and almost any new IT equipment will be more energy efficient than previous models.
The majority of those taking action say they are using PC power management tools to the full, whereas the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI) has estimated that no more than 22% of users overall are using PC power management effectively.
And one last figure from the CDW survey – just 15% of the survey respondents tracked their Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) the most widely-used metric for measuring data centre efficiency. If you don’t measure it how can you gauge any improvements?