Monday, July 13, 2009

Data Center Development

There are plenty of factual and anecdotal indicators which point to continued development of efficient data centers even in the midst of the economic crisis. Essentially, evidence is growing that green data centers are growing in strategic importance even while the definition of what qualifies as green is shifting at the margins.

The biggest driver of course is reduced energy consumption. As the cost of energy increases the payback calculus improves. Large development costs associated with a major new facility become more rational as the cost of operating inefficient facilities continues to rise. But energy savings aren’t the only financial benefit. As new facilities are developed IT groups take advantage of the opportunity and capital available through the project to re-engineer architecture and operational processes. Rich Lechner, IBM’s VP of Energy and the Environment states “for every dollar they save on energy, they can save another six or eight dollars on operational efficiencies.”

Why is the continued development of Green data centers developing such momentum in an era of financial constraint? The answer is in the numbers.

· IT accounts for 2.5% of global energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, and is growing 12 times faster than total energy use

· 69% of respondents in a recent Digital Realty Trust survey indicated they are extremely or very concerned about government regulation

· 81% of survey participants in that same survey indicate that carbon credits are now part of their Green IT strategy, up strikingly from 18% just a year ago

· 82% of companies participating in a IBM survey expect cap and trade climate technology and regulations in the U.S. and Europe within the next five years

Virtualization, consolidation, site selection and bundled energy pricing are all strategies to improve efficiency. The struggle for some companies, however, will continue to be choosing between building for greater efficiency, conversion of existing facilities or outsourcing. No matter the choice the investment required will be substantial.

As FM’s we are an integral part of the project development team. If you are even tangentially engaged in data center support or development for your organization then you need to know what your IT cousins are dealing with, what their issues are and where their industry is trending. That will help put you ahead of the game and position you as an equal partner.

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