The demand for data and information is on an aggressive growth path. Our consistently increasing use of the Internet, social media platforms and everything else digital is driving the demand for data center power. This consumption is drawing attention to the greening of IT.
This Triple Pundit story dove into the ins and outs of data center power in this generation of green initiatives. Data center power consumption is a major operating cost for data centers and usage is rapidly growing. This growth is fueled in large part by powerful trends, including the growth of the smart grid, cloud computing and the proliferation of smart devices.
As a result of the growing use and costs associated with data center power, data center operators are searching for new methods to reduce reliance on electricity. At the same time, national and international focus on policy initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide and green house gas emissions are pushing operators to examine their current systems.
One environmental organization, Greenpeace, has made it a priority to highlight the world’s largest IT companies and data center operators to either celebrate or chastise their approach to data center power consumption. Brand giants like Google (News - Alert), Apple and Microsoft have received attention based on their energy usage, especially in terms of clean or dirty electricity sources.
A recent Pike Research (News - Alert) report highlights that the path to green IT and green data centers is not just a flip of a switch, but instead an evolutionary process. Industry players are now firmly embarking on a new and green approach to data center power, but it demands fundamental change in policies at the top levels, not just an internal initiative by the data center operator.
At present, data centers account for roughly 1.5 percent of the total electricity consumed globally. This number is expected to increase drastically, even with a focus on green initiatives. Why? Even the most modern of societies are in the early stages of fundamental technological and economic shifts to digitally-connected, network-centered social, commercial and industrial environments.
And, while the benefits of green data centers to the environment and society are well recognized, organizations still needed to identify the bottom-line, financial benefits of making the move toward green innovations. As the world becomes more crowded and resource-constrained, the need to increase the use of renewable energy will gain more prominence. Clean technology will be needed to increase efficiency, reduce waste and ensure less consumption of data center power.
Pike Research suggests data center power will only increase, although green data centers offer annual market opportunities that exceed $45 billion throughout the world by 2016. The highest revenue growth will be found in the Asia Pacific region, with a rate of growth just under 30 percent. Double-digit revenue growth is also projected in North America and Europe.
Greenpeace’s April 2012 “How Clean is Your Cloud?” stated, “The growth and scale of investment in the cloud is truly mind-blowing, with estimates of a 50-fold increase in the amount of digital information by 2020 and nearly half a trillion in investment in the coming year, all to create and feed our desire for ubiquitous access to infinite information from our computers, phones and other mobile devices, instantly. The engine that drives the cloud is the data center.”
For those companies seeking to reduce data center power consumption, major change is needed. If a clear commitment to green initiatives is established internally and data center operators get involved in local and national policies, that evolutionary process will become a reality.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin