September 24, 2009 — According to Gartner Inc., data center and IT managers are don’t pay sufficient attention to the process of measuring, monitoring and modeling energy use in data centers. The research firm concludes that unless users start to create accurate dashboards, they will not be able to reduce energy costs and meet compliance requirements.
A Gartner interactive poll conducted in April 2009 among more than 130 attendees from the infrastructure and operations (I&O) management found that although green IT issues remain at the top of the agenda, respondents consider vendor and green procurement a low priority activity for the next 18 months. Although 68 percent of respondents thought data center energy management is their most important green IT issue for the next 18 months, only 7 percent consider green procurement and pushing vendors to create more energy efficient and greener solutions as their top priority.
Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner shared that although the green IT and data center energy issue has been on the agenda for some time now, many managers feel that they have to deal with more-immediate concerns before focusing attention on their suppliers’ products.
“Even if more energy efficient servers or energy management tools were available,” Kumar said in a statement, “data center and IT managers are far more interested in internal projects like consolidation, rationalisation and virtualization.” 
Gartner said that energy management (both in terms of capacity and cost) can only be effective through advanced monitoring, modeling and measuring techniques and processes. However, when asked which energy management metrics they will use in the next 18 months, 48 percent of respondents have not even considered the issue of metrics. 
Despite this lack of concern, about 63 percent of poll respondents said that they will face data center capacity constraints in the next 18 months. More importantly, 15 percent said that their data centers are already at capacity and will be forced to build new sites or refurbish existing sites within the next 12 months. 
Gartner recommends that data center and IT managers implement the following recommendations, effective immediately:

  1. Raise the temperature at the server inlet point to 24 degrees Celsius (71 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit), but use sensors to monitor potential hotspots.
  2. Develop a dashboard of data center energy-efficient metrics that provides appropriate data to different levels of IT and financial management.
  3. Use the SPECpower benchmark to evaluate the relative energy efficiencies of the servers.
  4. Improve the use of the existing infrastructure through consolidation and virtualization before building out or buying new/additional data center floor space.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Data Centres Focus on Green, but Many Neglect Metrics." 

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