Energy efficiency continues to be a major topic in the datacenter industry, and it’s no wonder. Energy is one of the biggest elements of cost in datacenters, not only because of the servers themselves, but also the air conditioning systems needed to counter all the heat generated. It’s often said that datacenters are responsible for 2 percent of all energy used in the U.S., and it may be time to revise that number upward, given the rapid expansion of Internet and telecomm usage in the past couple of years.
At the Uptime Institute’s Annual Symposium in Santa Clara, California earlier this month, Jones Lang LaSalle sponsored a luncheon that focused on energy and sustainability issues in data centers. Topics ranged from targeting markets with the lowest utility cost to redesigning chips and circuits within the servers themselves to save substantial amounts of money.
Several cutting-edge thinkers in the datacenter sector, including MSFT and eBay, debated the question of managing efficiencies at the server level versus the facility level. Part of the question is whether IT decision-makers are able to predict, with any degree of accuracy, how much datacenter space they will need in the future, given the increase in server space demand on one hand and the industry’s ever-increasing ability to fit more storage and computing power into smaller servers on the other hand.
It will be some time before there are definitive answers to these questions. But the fact that major players are thinking about energy issues more than they used to is a big step forward for the datacenter industry.