Green IT ignorance adds risk

Businesses who ignore green IT issue and their potential impact on future power shortages do so at their peril, a new survey has warned.

The survey of one hundred IT managers and directors in corporate UK firms with revenue exceeding 50 million found over 70 of them were concerned about future power shortages, but few are taking any action to minimise the risk.

The concern may be well justified, given that EON only recently published a report predicting partial power losses interruptions or brown-outs' by 2012, with the potential to dramatically affect power many businesses' critical IT systems.

Simon Williams, director at survey sponsor DMW Group told IT PRO that IT directors should prioritise power management, so that only business-critical systems remain protected by backup power sources in the event of a brown-out.

But despite concern among IT managers the survey - conducted by researcher Vanson Bourne - suggested only seven per cent were able to estimate how much energy their technology estate consumed with any reasonable accuracy.

When asked specifically about power use in the data centre, 68 per cent of respondents claimed not to understand the energy efficiency of this major source of power consumption.

Furthermore, more than two-thirds of respondents had not set any targets to reduce their IT energy consumption. Reasons cited were either that it was simply not viewed as their responsibility, or it was unnecessary because IT accounts for only a small amount of total power usage.

But the survey found the average cost of powering an IT estate was already 12 million a year a figure that Williams pointed out was only set to rise further with increased consumption and energy price inflation.

He said: "Not measuring your current IT power consumption means that many IT managers are unlikely to have a sound plan for reducing their power requirements and completely underestimating the size and impact of the problem."

Williams advised IT heads to establish a regime of measuring their energy usage and to constantly look at ways to reduce it, adding: "They are more interested in reducing their total cost of server or PC ownership because often, they are not made responsible for their power bills."

The research also highlighted that 79 per cent of respondents reported that they are either using servervirtualisation or consolidation or planning to do so. But less than half turned off power to servers when not in use and less than half (47 per cent) had thought about reducing average server power consumption.

Less than a third (29 per cent) had considered using fresh air cooling in their data centres, while 18 per cent had considered recycling heat generated from data centre or using renewable energy.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.