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Data Center Managers Neglect Energy Use Metrics

datacenter2Data center and IT managers are not paying enough attention to measuring, monitoring and modeling energy use in data centers, according to a recent interactive poll conducted by Gartner Inc. Businesses will not be able to reduce energy costs and meet compliance requirements unless they create accurate energy management dashboards, according to the report.

Gartner said that energy management in terms of capacity and cost can only be effective through advanced monitoring, modeling and measuring techniques and processes. However, when IT managers were asked which energy management metrics they will use in the next 18 months, 48 percent have not even considered the issue of metrics.

Without metrics it is impossible to get accurate data, which is essential to evaluating basic costs, proportioning these costs to different users and setting policies for improvement, said Gartner.

The survey shows that 68 percent of respondents believe data center energy management is their most important green IT issue over the next 18 months, but only 7 percent consider green procurement and driving vendors to create more energy efficient and greener solutions as their top priority.

The report, “Data Centers Focus on Green, but Many Neglect Metrics,” finds that green IT issues remain at the top of the agenda, but respondents consider vendor and green procurement a low priority activity for the next 18 months.

Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner said even if more energy-efficient servers or energy management tools were available, data center and IT managers are more interested in internal projects like consolidation, rationalization and virtualization.

Despite a lack of concern for measuring and monitoring of energy use, around 63 percent of survey respondents said that they will face data center capacity constraints in the next 18 months. Fifteen 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 recommendations for data and IT managers include developing a dashboard of data center energy-efficient metrics that provides appropriate data for different levels of IT and financial management, using the SPECpower benchmark to evaluate the relative energy efficiencies of the servers, and raising the temperature at the server inlet point up to 24 degrees Celsius (71 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) while monitoring potential hotspots with sensors.

The research firm also suggests that they improve the use of their existing infrastructure through consolidation and virtualization before building out or buying new/additional data center floor space.

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