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Study Finds Servers Waste $25B a Year

serveruseOne of the biggest causes of energy and information technology (IT) operational waste is millions of servers at the world’s largest IT departments that don’t do anything useful, according to a new global server study.

As a result, U.S. businesses will need to consider making energy-efficient changes, including the implementation of power-saving tools, in the face of several pending global climate change policies and initiatives, including the U.S. climate bill, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s data center initiative and global climate talks in Copenhagen, according to study researchers.

The study, conducted by Kelton Research and commissioned by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy, reveals that 4.7 million servers globally are wasting $25 billion annually. According to 72 percent of survey respondents, 15 percent or more of their servers are not doing anything useful, and over eight in ten (83 percent) admit that they do not have an adequate understanding of server utilization.

Sumir Karayi, CEO, at 1E said (PDF) organizations need better information on server efficiency and more effective ongoing server energy management because savings from decommissioning non-productive servers cannot be ignored.

The survey also finds that 72 percent of server managers rely on CPU utilization as their measure of server efficiency, while 63 percent rely on manual checks, trial and error or wait until something is broken to find unused servers.

The study also indicates that 65 percent of respondents have virtualized unused servers and almost one in three (32 percent) state that they are actively seeking a solution to virtual server sprawl, a phenomenon where a disproportionate number of virtual servers have low or zero utilization, according to the report.

Forty-one percent of server managers are concerned about and a further 43 percent are using change control procedures or software to manage virtual server sprawl.

Another finding reveals that 75 percent of respondents believe their companies’ mandates to deliver high levels of IT service internally interfere with measuring and improving server efficiency.

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