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UK Data Centres Won’t Cut Energy In 2012

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

The majority of data centres in the UK will fail to cut energy use in 2012, despite environmental and economic pressure

Most data centres in the UK will not be cutting their energy use in 2012. In fact, three-quarters will be using more electricity, despite pressure from energy costs and green taxes.

Rising energy costs are supposed to be making data centres more energy-conscious, and energy taxes such as the CRC energy efficiency scheme are designed have the same effect, but still 76 percent of the UK’s data centres expect to use more energy this year, according to a survey by Data Centre World.

The cloud is an energy hog

It is not just a small increase either. More than one fifth (21 percent) expect to expand their energy use by more than 25 percent this year, according to the survey.

While some of the increase may be down to growth and increased levels of business, it is also being produced by inefficient use of energy, despite the existence of schemes such as the EU Code of Conduct, a set of best practices  for green data centres.

Asked about Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), the measure of data centre efficiency, around half those surveyed admitted they did not know what their PUE is, or were aware that it was over 2.0 – meaning that for every Watt of power supplied to their IT racks, a Watt is wasted in cooling down the systems.

Around half (46 percent) don’t have a PUE target or have missed it, and nearly a third (31 percent) admnitted they did not know what PUE is (it is calculated by dividing the power supplied to the data centre, by the power that reaches the IT equipment).

“Although the UK has some of the most advanced data centres in the world, the survey shows there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done,” said  John Hatcher, director of the Data Centre World conference which takes place 29 february to 1 March in London. ” If we’re to see a credible reduction in data centre carbon footprint in our lifetime, the industry needs to embrace innovative green technologies available to cool and power facilities across the UK.”

The survey is based on 70 responses to an online survey distributed during November and December 2011, to 6,000 IT decision makers who operate or plan to operate a data centre and third party data centre operators.