Businesses don’t know data centre's environmental effect

Data centre managers are unaware despite introduction of Carbon Reduction Commitment

A survey of 100 CIOs and data centre managers in the UK has shown that 53 per cent of respondents do not know the environmental impact of their own data centres.

The survey was conducted by researchers Vanson Bourne on behalf of data centre infrastructure management solutions provider nlyte Software.

"They're not aware that the data centre is a hungry user [of energy] because they don't measure and monitor their business, so they're unable to identify it," said Rob Neave, co-founder and VP of IT and sustainability at nlyte Software.

Although the majority (62 per cent) of businesses said that increased legislation, like the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, would influence them to re-evaluate their data centre's green policy, a fifth of respondents said they would not. 18 per cent did not know if they would.

The findings may be seen as surprising given the introduction of the mandatory CRC scheme earlier this year, which aims to reduce the amount of electricity used by businesses - most of which is expended in the data centre.

Nonetheless, companies in financial services were most likely (76 per cent) to re-think their green policies, followed by 64 per cent in manufacturing. Financial services were also least likely to not re-evaluate (12 per cent) their environmental policy due to legislative pressure.

"Financial services seem to be ahead of the game in terms of green," said Marina Stedman, director of EMEA marketing at nlyte Software. "They're always leaders in investment in technology."

Most respondents (36 per cent) measure their data centre's carbon footprint from energy bills, while 21 per cent did not know how it was measured. 18 per cent measured it from carbon emissions.

Neave said: "Most data centre managers claim to measure their data centre's carbon footprint with regular energy bills, but this is a completely inadequate method of measurement."

He believes that if businesses cannot measure, monitor and therefore predict their energy usage, they will not be able to pass on the costs of carbon emissions onto their customers -something that 30 per cent of respondents said they would do.

APC, the data centre manufacturers, recently said that a new phenomenon called dynamic power variation was severely affecting the efficiency of data centres, and that it would be a worsening problem unless it was addressed soon with new cooling methods.

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