European data centers face energy crisis, says study

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

European data centers are facing an energy crisis, it said. Energy use by data centers grew by more than 13% 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 features,” said Giorgio Nebuloni, an analyst at IDC.

“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 data center facilities will increase their energy usage again this year, by around 5% over last year’s figures. In 2007, servers in Western Europe alone consumed more than twice the power used for street lighting annually in the U.K.

IDC analyst Nathaniel Martinez estimated that last year €1.6 billion were spent on powering servers in Western Europe, which translates into €4.4 billion for total data center expenses. Martinez foresees a scenario in which every euro spent on new server capacity in 2012 could require another 80 cents to power the existing infrastructure.

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