In a post-"Inconvenient Truth" world, companies appear to be putting more thought into conserving energy in their data centers, as this Analyst Perspectives report makes clear. The report cites a recent Sun Microsystems survey in which 75 percent of executives tasked with purchasing data center gear say energy efficiency is a top priority and research from the Digital Reality Trust that 60 percent of companies expect green data center strategies to be part of future capital spending.
Yet despite this interest, confusion over what constitutes "green" is complicating conservation efforts. Seventy-three percent of the Digital Reality Trust respondents are creating their own standards, due to the lack of a clear industry standard for "green" data centers.
This kind of confusion is one reason why companies should consider outsourcing data center infrastructure, according to an IDG white paper. Other reasons include cost savings and reduced exposure to compliance risks -- though such risks are a future threat rather than a current reality.
Because third-party infrastructure providers can leverage economies of scale across large numbers of clients, says IDG, they can deliver data center energy savings of up to 40 percent. And while there are currently no environmental requirements for data centers, an IDC research director hints strongly that this will change.
Today, legislation is concentrated on areas such as materials and recycling, but discussions are going on within the EU (European Union) and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to extend environmental regulation to IT and communications, and companies must consider the future implications of this for their business.
OK, fair enough, but skeptics among us will note that the IDG report was commissioned by one such provider, Rackspace.
Skepticism apparently was running quite high at this week's Gartner Symposium and ITxpo in Florida. ZDNet blogger Larry Dignan says that at least some attendees are bothered by the not-so-altruistic motives of vendors and consultants, who are pushing "green" agendas to pad their own pockets.
Dignan also doesn't understand why there isn't more focus on virtualization and automated servers than on hardware-driven approaches to reduce cooling costs.