Data centre managers 'excluded from energy efficient programmes'

Research from Loughborough University and IT optimisation firm on365 suggests that data centre managers lack ‘any real understanding of their IT infrastructure’s energy costs’, and the demands they are placing on it.

The survey questioned 87 UK-based data centre professionals, IT staff, and finance staff between June and August 2009. It found that responsibility for data centre operating and electricity costs was split between job functions, with the electricity budget mainly held by facilities managers (53 per cent), with only 23 per cent of IT personnel polled controlling it, and 23 per cent of finance professionals having equal responsibility for this area.  Asked who actually saw their data centre’s electricity bills, only 44 per cent of those interviewed said they did while a majority 56 per cent said they did not.

Asked whether they could easily measure data centre efficiency metrics, a clear majority of 58 per cent said they could not. Asked what information they provided to individual customers or users within their data centre, more than half of interviewees said they provided ‘no information whatsoever’. In addition, half of interviewees are worried that running energy efficiency programmes will ‘add to their capital costs in future’.

Just ahead of the opening of registration for the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) trading scheme - affecting the UK’s largest companies and government organisations and their suppliers - only one fifth of interviewees said they were aware of current legislation or taxation related to energy efficiency.

“IT and facility managers are in effect being excluded from advancing best energy efficiency practice - they need to be able to identify new ways to manage down energy costs while maintaining 24/7 IT system performance,” says on365’s marketing director Chris Smith. “This will mean working more closely with departmental colleagues and customer on business needs, facilities planning, utilities, and energy management as time goes on.”

Smith adds: “In the short term, data centre staff need to be organising system audits to identify energy efficiency improvements. This could include immediate ‘nil cost’ measures to reduce energy uptake by both IT infrastructure and cooling equipment.”

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