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UK data centres with most servers not prioritising energy efficiency, says report

Image: Adobe Stock / Gorodenkoff

UK data centre operators with large numbers of servers are unlikely to prioritise energy efficiency, according to new a report from server manufacturer ASUS.

The research found that, among UK organisations with 11 or more servers, just 35% of respondents said energy efficiency should be a factor in their server purchasing decisions, and only 34% said energy efficiency is a factor in such decisions.

Further, 24% said energy efficiency is of less importance when purchasing servers than it was 12 months ago. Just under half at 47% said their IT department had an energy-efficiency and sustainability policy.

The report, Energy-efficiency in the data centre, also suggested that organisations with fewer servers prioritised energy efficiency more highly. For example, among organisations with two to five servers, 62% agreed that energy efficiency should be a factor in their server purchasing decisions, and 71% said energy efficiency is already a factor in decision making.

Compared to their counterparts with 11 or more servers, 81% said their IT department had an energy-efficiency and sustainability policy in place.

The report suggests that respondents from organisations with 10 or more servers were twice as optimistic as respondents with two to five servers that energy prices will revert to long-term norms within two years, pointing to a potential reason for the discrepancy,

The age of respondents also seemed to influence their prioritisation of ICT energy efficiency, with 57% of respondents aged 25-34 agreeing that server-related energy costs should be a line item in their IT budgets, opposed to just 19% aged 55 or over.

Morten Mjels, ASUS UK & Ireland Country Product Manager for servers, said, “In the survey, we also asked respondents to identify the top three factors in their server purchasing decisions, and it would have been perfectly possible for any respondent to say, well, ‘performance, energy efficiency, warranty and these are equally important’, or ‘price, energy efficiency, performance and these are equally important’. But they didn’t: the data seem to indicate that purchasers think there’s a trade-off between these attributes – forcing IT managers and procurement departments to choose based on which attribute is most important to their organisation.

“Frankly, this is a misperception: all major manufacturers are focused on improving server energy efficiency, while performance world records are broken all the time, by the same servers. It’s a story the industry needs to tell more: you can have both energy-efficiency and performance. As a sustainability leader, ASUS would like to see stronger consideration of energy efficiency in the purchase process, because we don’t want to see the worst predictions for energy consumption by ICT equipment coming true.”

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