The Global View

Data centres = 1/4 of IT CO2

416230_data_centre.jpgThe big beasty analyst Gartner says data centres account for 23 per cent of global ICT CO2 emissions.

Its estimate follows its finding in April 2007 that the ICT industry produces 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions, placing it on a par with the aviation industry.

This from the press release…

Speaking ahead of Gartner’s Data Centre Summit this month, Rakesh Kumar, research vice-president at Gartner said: “Although the figure compares favourably with the 40 per cent of emissions from PCs and monitors, it is much more concentrated and rising more quickly. Not enough attention has been paid to reducing the data centre’s carbon emissions. Organisations should aim to keep their data centre CO2 emissions constant. This will help curb excessive data centre growth and act as a counterbalance to deploying energy-inefficient hardware.”

“Data centres account for such a large portion of ICT CO2 emissions for three main reasons,” Mr Kumar said. “There is a lack of floor-space, a failure to house high-density servers and increased power consumption and heat generation. These three issues will affect the cost of running a data centre. For example, Gartner predicts energy consumption of microprocessors alone will rise for the next ten years.”

To reverse the situation, Mr Kumar offers five practical guidelines to CIOs and data centre leaders on power management:

Align the IT organisation with corporate facilities groups. Understand the working practices, documented guidelines and corporate policies of corporate facilities groups. This will help to establish what is appropriate for specific problems, such as cooling.

Baseline current energy use and costs, and model future increases Establish financial models for gaining a granular picture of energy costs to understand where power goes (servers, cooling, UPS or power distribution) and how much it costs.

Establish a sustainable IT expert group. From an IT perspective, a small team (or, initially, an individual) needs to take ownership of the IT-related environmental issues and establish rules of engagement for making decisions, such server selection or data centre design.

Evaluate future technologies. These will include facilities-type of solutions and energy software management tools for the office environment.

Develop a green procurement programme. Get started on green IT procurement by adopting the environmental requirements set out by long-established, government-backed environmental labelling bodies.