Survey reveals 'green' initiatives (or lack thereof)

Posted on November 20, 2007

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By Ann Silverthorn

—According to a recent end-user survey, which included a section on "green" initiatives, nearly three-fourths of the respondents have an interest in adopting a green data-center initiative, yet only one in seven has successfully done so. For the purpose of the study, a green data center was defined as having increased efficiencies in energy usage, power consumption, and space utilization, as well as a reduction in polluting energy sources.

Conducted by Ziff Davis on behalf of Symantec, the study surveyed 800 data-center managers across 14 countries, most of which were Global 2000 organizations and other large companies.

In the US, only about one-third of the companies have adopted green policies. However, many US companies are making progress with the Green Grid, which is a consortium of IT vendors and users seeking to lower the overall consumption of power in data centers. The organization is chartered to develop platform-neutral standards, measurement methods, processes, and new technologies to improve energy efficiency.

Green Grid board members include AMD, APC, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Rackable Systems, Spray Cool, Sun, and VMware. Contributing members include nearly 30 vendors, including storage vendors such as Copan and Pillar Data Systems. General members, which number 75, include storage vendors such as Nexsan, Sepaton, and Storwize.

In the Symantec survey, 85% of the respondents said energy efficiency is at least a moderate priority in their data centers, with 15.5% citing it as a critical priority.

Marty Ward, director of NetBackup product marketing at Symantec, says the numbers are not surprising because, "a lot of thought is being put into it and not enough action." However, Ward is encouraged that almost three-fourths of the respondents are at least thinking about going green.

When considering approaches to making data centers greener, managers have many choices in both software and hardware. They may even decide on an entire data-center redesign. According to Ward, technologies such as data de-duplication and creating a tiered storage architecture are examples of technologies that can dramatically reduce energy consumption.

In addition, there are a variety of projects that constitute green policies (see figure, below).

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