Regulation tops European data centre worries

Government regulation in the European datacentre industry is the biggest concern for senior data centre professionals, according to a survey. Nearly 70 per cent of companies surveyed by Digital Realty trust said that they are ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ with the potential impact of Green regulations on data centres.

Individuals surveyed were restricted to a minimum of director level in IT, MIS, IS or finance and they needed to represent companies with either €500M or £500M annual revenues or 2,500+ employees. They also had to be responsible for managing a datacentre, implementing a new datacentre, executing contracts for a new datacentre or expanding existing datacentres. The survey was concluded at the end of March by Campos Research.

Other findings from the study include:

  • 55 per cent of those surveyed would reject a provider with no Green strategy
  • 57 per cent felt there was now a clear definition of what constitutes a Green datacentre
  • 60 per cent of surveyed companies now have Green datacentre strategies in place

Among companies that have a Green datacentre strategy, the qualities they are looking for in datacentre providers include:

  • Energy efficiency - viewed as the key criteria for a Green datacentre.
  • Experience building facilities with LEED or BREEAM certification.
  • Knowledge of current regulations and emerging Green standards.
  • The ability to meet ISO 14001 and Green Grid standards.

While many mention a Green strategy as a factor in choosing a datacentre provider, no company emerges as a Green leader in the survey.

While energy efficiency was seen as the dominant characteristic of a Green datacentre, recycled materials, carbon issues, and transportation were nearly equally important to those surveyed, who also included targeted cooling, efficient UPS and metering equipment among their ‘wish list’. ISO 14001 and Green Grid were thought to be the leading standards for certifying a Green datacentre.

Companies who have already adopted a Green strategy said that the most important goal of their strategy was in reducing energy costs, but other benefits including climate change, customer image, cost of compliance and updating datacentres were also important. Despite the challenges facing the global economy, 58 percent of respondents had increased their focus on Green initiatives and 69 percent revealed that carbon credits were part of their strategy.

“While the new Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) regulations in the E.U. address a number of questions about the new rules, new concerns about how companies will achieve compliance have arisen, “ says Digital Realty Trust CTO Jim Smith. “That uncertainty is reflected in these results in terms of how the new rules will impact operations, finance, and customer relations.”
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