To Green The Data Center, IT Has To Feel Some Pain

Author: Preston Gralla

If truly green data centers are ever to become a reality, IT departments will have to feel some pain if they don’t reduce their energy use—and reap the benefits if they do. Today, though, too often, IT departments don’t even pay their own energy bills, as a recently released survey found. In order to green IT, that has to change.

A recently released report from Brocade about Green IT is eye-opening. The report surveyed more than 1,000 senior IT decision makers in North America, Western Europe, the Nordic region, Turkey, and Dubai. It found that in 50% of all enterprises surveyed, facilities management paid the electricity bill. In only 23% of enterprises does the IT department foot the bill. In 22% of the cases IT and facilities share the costs, and in 5% of companies, a different department pays.

It’s this simple: If IT doesn’t pay the electric bill, the data center won’t get greened. The survey backs that up. It found that only 51% of IT departments surveyed have a system in place for measuring how much power hardware uses. That’s no surprise, given that IT departments are only responsible for paying for all or part of the electric bill in 45% of companies.

If IT departments paid their own electric bills, you’d see electric monitoring systems being put into place quickly. If they had to deal with rate hikes, you’d see electric use go down. And if they were allowed to keep a sizable portion of their savings on electricity, and apply that to other IT projects, you’d see massive power savings in the data center.

We’re at the point where greening IT may be more about corporate organization than actual technology. The first step it to make IT departments feel the pain when electric bills go up—and get the benefits when electricity use goes down.

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