Data centre managers “are like 4×4 drivers”

Data centre managers are as environmentally friendly as motorists who drive gas guzzlers through inner cities, according to Fujitsu Siemens.

Data centre managers

The company claims data centres account for 12% of power consumption in the UK, which is “roughly the equivalent of six nuclear power stations,” according to head of sales strategy, Dave Pritchard.

“Data centre managers are a bit like the person driving a 4×4 through town,” he says.

Pritchard claims the average data centre is running at only a fifth of its capacity, with the majority operating at only 10-15%. He claims huge amounts of power are being wasted.

“The people who run IT don’t run the power – they don’t see the bill,” he says. “If they were responsible for the electricity, then they’d start caring.”

The proliferation of virtualisation and even fully-automated data centres will help reduce power consumption, Pritchard claims, but he believes the government will be forced to take more drastic action in the meantime. “They’re talking about changing the electricity tariff between [the peak hours] of 5-8pm,” he says.

“Now companies will have to look at that and turn equipment off. They’ll have to take measures such as downgrading the SLA [data centre service level agreement] between those hours.”

Consumer power

Although companies are becoming increasingly aware of green issues in the boardroom, Pritchard says consumers are far more advanced when it comes to energy saving. He cites the example of people not leaving their televisions on standby – “which consumes two-thirds of nothing” – and yet offices leaving PCs, servers and printers running around the clock.

“The first thing to look at is power consumption,” Pritchard claims. “We have to start putting machines on standby and waking them up over the LAN. We have to see the [environmental] consciousness of the consumer world enter the corporate world.”

Choosing energy-efficient equipment is also another key step towards reducing power bills. And Pritchard admits it has become harder for consumers and businesses to make informed choices on PC equipment now that virtually every manufacturer is flouting its green credentials.

“It’s very easy for people to stand up and say we’re green now. But when green turns out not be a trend tomorrow, we’ll still be doing it,” says Pritchard, highlighting Fujitsu-Siemens’ long heritage in green computing.

“We really need something like the energy saving barcode [you get on domestic appliances],” he adds. “We have Energy Star but who hasn’t? It’s almost like a certification.”

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