At the UCISA conference, earlier this year, there were some astounding figures quoted with regard to the cost of the running a datacentre - environmentally and financially. A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories report states:
"The energy used by a typical rack of state-of-the art servers, drawing 20 kilowatts of power at 10 cents per kWh, uses more that $17,000 per year in electricity. Given that data centers can hold hundreds of such racks, they constitute a very energy-intensive building type. Clearly, efforts to improve energy efficiency in data centers can pay big dividends. But, where to start?"
Well the debate is having an impact on the way people think about datacentres. Companies around the world are announcing ways to save energy and reduce costs by buying new hardware and services. Yet, there is little guidance on how you can take action to control energy costs. In the past, electricity has been treated as an overhead expense, like the cost of space. But with rising power costs and issues regarding reliability, supply, and capacity, electricity requires its own specific strategy.
My colleague Dave Ohara has written an article for TechNet magazine about the issue, looking at the importance of Energy Monitoring Systems, helping define 'the green datacentre' and going on to conclude that "Knowing is half the battle".
It's a good read, and provides a useful insight on how to get started.