Survey Quantifies Energy Waste in IT Development and Test Centers, 59% would consider turning off idle Computers

Cassatt ran a survey of of Data Center professionals, and published a press release.

Cassatt Survey Finds Massive Data Center Energy Waste in Development and Test Centers, but 59 Percent Would Consider Turning Off Idle Computers

Two-thirds of Data Centers Are Addressing Energy Efficiency Concerns With Long-Term Projects Like Server Consolidation and Virtualization, but Some See Quick Benefits of Server Power Management

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 22, 2008 – Nearly two-thirds of IT and facilities personnel consider their data center energy efficiency “average” or worse – and their development and test environments might be the biggest cause of that, according to a survey conducted by Cassatt® Corporation, a leader in providing software to make data centers more efficient.

More than a quarter of survey respondents said that greater than 60 percent of their development and test servers are idle during off-peak hours.  There is some good news, though:  62 percent are working on a data center energy-efficiency project now or expect to within the next year, according to the “Cassatt 2008 Data Center Energy Efficiency Survey.”   And, contrary to conventional wisdom, 59 percent would consider turning off computers that are idle.

One of the first areas I advise clients is to start energy savings projects in their performance, development, and test labs to quantify the savings, allowing them to  filter the greenwashing from real savings. Even though everyone wants to get solutions in the data center, it makes sense to take the first steps in your labs. Few labs need to run 24 x 7, and there are multiple servers that can be turned off.  But, as Cassatt mentions in its study.

“Less expected,” Coleman continued, “and very problematic for the industry, are the findings that show that many companies simply don’t measure their power consumption at all, or do so at a very superficial level.  If you can’t measure it, as they say, you can’t manage it. And it may be that companies are fixing only part of the problem with initiatives based on incomplete information. While organizations are showing a willingness to try some new ideas, many are still ignoring simpler solutions that could help them with energy efficiency almost immediately.”

The biggest problem is people are not measuring their power consumption. A Toyota Prius works because its instrument panel gives you feedback on your performance and efficiency.

Other interesting parts from Cassat's survey are:

  • “Green” motivation = money:  Cost and capacity constraints are the two strongest motivators for an energy efficiency strategy, cited by 68 percent and 57 percent of respondents, respectively.  Even so, 39 percent of companies are motivated by environmental responsibilities.
  • IT and facilities still aren’t talking much:  Almost half of respondents (46 percent) said their facilities and IT teams touched based infrequently, not at all, or they weren’t sure how often.
  • Self-serving advice?:  End users say they get their primary guidance regarding data center energy efficiency from parties with a stake in their spending – system vendors (49 percent) and power and cooling vendors (46 percent).  Other experts, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Uptime Institute, and the Green Grid, ranked much lower.
  • Missing good advice?:  More than 38 percent of respondents are unaware that the EPA recommends turning off idle or unused servers to save power.