Data Centres are wary of vendors’ Green marketing messages

A survey by the Aperture Research Institute (ARI) of more than 100 data centre professionals has shown that green initiatives are gaining traction in the data centre, but data centre management does not trust the environmental claims that vendors attach to products and services.

Although 70% of organisations are adopting green initiatives, the Aperture Research Institute study found two alarming gaps: 19% of those with a green initiative admitted it did not include the data centre, and 13% of those with an initiative did not know whether it did. Since the ARI was interviewing those with responsibility for planning and managing data centres, the green initiative would be unlikely to have any effect in a data centre where management does not understand the initiative’s implications.

Numerous opportunities were suggested for cutting energy use in the data centre, with 44% naming cooling and 24% naming power efficiency. 27% proposed virtualisation or consolidation as a strategy, but only one person suggested powering off unused CPUs. The minority of managers appear willing to adopt strategies that will help them to use existing assets more effectively. Most are calling for more energy efficient equipment to be invented, bought by their organisations and then installed in their data centres.

Despite that, data centre management is unconvinced by vendors’ claims to be marketing more environmentally friendly equipment. 26% dismissed such claims as hype, and 42% said they had no way to validate the claims. It seems that even those organisations that are committed to reducing their environmental footprint do not trust vendors to help them do so.

Steve Yellen, Principal of the Aperture Research Institute, said: “Some commentators have suggested that the IT industry is responsible for more carbon emissions than aviation, and it is time for the IT industry to start taking its responsibilities seriously. Our study found that 70% of organisations are adopting a green initiative, but some have left alarming gaps as far as the data centre is concerned. There’s also a lack of trust between vendors and the data centres they supply. Managers recognise the positive contribution that more-energy-efficient equipment can make, but they are quick to dismiss vendors’ green claims as hype or impossible to verify.”

Yellen concluded: “This ARI survey investigates managers’ attitudes towards the so-called ‘green data centre’. In the next research note, we will investigate whether the actions of data centre management reflect their stated aims.”

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