Enterprises Still Failing to Cut Data Center Power, Cooling Costs

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2015-06-20 Print this article Print
Data Center Power

Many data centers are also being kept needlessly cool. About 75 percent of enterprises are keeping their data centers below 75 degrees F, when guidelines set by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) call for a recommended maximum of 80.6 degrees and allowable maximum of 95 degrees.

Everybody's Problem

This isn't just a data center manager problem. CIOs, CFOs and CEOs need to have serious conversations about what do. The easy steps are managing cooling more effectively in order to lower the cost. A better but more expensive method is data center transformation by consolidating data centers, going to a converged data center or adding cloud services where possible.

I'm not letting the cloud-scale providers off the hook completely. Amazon, Facebook, Google, eBay, etc., all use enormous amounts of energy. But economies of scale alone make their usage more efficient. And for the most part, they are employing the latest methods to keep power usage to a minimum while seeking renewable sources and, if possible, carbon neutrality.

eBay has done a lot in this area, even going so far as successfully lobbying the Utah state legislature to change its policies as a coal-first state so it could deploy renewable sources at its new data center in Salt Lake City.

Amazon is the exception. Despite the recent announcement of a solar farm in Virginia, which will generate 170,000 megawatts when it is scheduled to open in October of next year, Amazon is a holdout in disclosing its energy usage and sustainability policies.

The company has been the target of Greenpeace lobbying efforts and also has been targeted by its own customers, who demanded that Amazon adopt a more transparent stance. Shareholders also submitted a resolution at the Amazon annual meeting earlier this month, asking that " issue a sustainability report describing the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and goals, including greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals," but it received only 26.2 percent of the vote.

So, it's not enough for companies to get with the program. Investors need to as well. In the long term, doing whatever can be done to reduce fossil fuel usage, power consumption and reducing costs in the data center is the right, and smart, thing to do.

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise, While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.



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