Datacentres face energy crisis

An IDC report claims that power use by datacentres in Europe is growing, while the price of energy continues to rise.

European datacentres are facing an energy crisis, it said. Energy use by datacentres grew by more than 13 percent between 2006 and 2007.

"Such a rise in energy demands can be explained by the growing number of active servers in the region, but also - and most importantly - by the electricity requirement that machines on average have due to multicore technology and enhanced hardware feature," said Giorgio Nebuloni, research analyst with IDC European Systems and Infrastructure Solutions.

"The efforts that industry players have started to put into building energy efficient components are not enough to balance the rise of energy needs. To contain them organizations have to act on the infrastructure level, adopting best practices and redesigning their facility to improve cooling and power processes."

Faced with the rising cost of energy, IT firms have been bombarded with advice and products to cut energy use and increase efficiency.

Despite this, the report shows energy consumption growing, with IDC predicting that energy usage by datacentre facilities is set to grow again this year, swelling from over 40 TWh in 2007 to more than 42TWh in 2008. In 2007, servers in Western Europe alone consumed more than 16.3 TWh, more than twice the power used for street lighting annually in the UK.

Nathaniel Martinez, program director for European Enterprise Servers, estimated that last year 1.6 billion Euros were spent on powering servers in Western Europe, which translates into 4.4 billion Euros for entire datacentre expenses. Martinez foresees a scenario in which every euro spent on new server capacity in 2012 could require a further 80 cents to power the existing infrastructure.

IT suppliers are to be put on the spot later this week at the Answer Time for Green IT event, organised by charity Global Action Plan. Participants will pitch questions to a senior panel of hardware and software vendors and government representatives.

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