The global market for green datacentres will grow from $17.1bn (£10bn) in 2012 to $45.4bn (£28bn) by 2016, as rising energy costs, tighter carbon emission regulations and economic pressure force IT executives to make their datacentres energy-efficient, a study has found.
The Green Data Centers research from Pike Research estimated that the green datacentre market will grow nearly 28% every year for the next four years as businesses look for ways to keep energy demand in check as their IT infrastructure grows.
According to the study, the datacentre industry currently consumes about 1.5% of the world’s energy. But factors such as the prices of electricity and real estate, greenhouse gas emissions, IT growth, cloud computing and virtualisation are making businesses consider the green datacentre technology.
A green datacentre is an IT infrastructure – hosting the storage hardware, data volumes and management tools – in which the mechanical, lighting, electrical and computer systems are designed for maximum energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact.
“There is no single technology or design model that makes a datacentre green,” said Eric Woods, research director at Pike Research.
In fact, the green datacentre is connected to the broader transformation that datacentres are currently undergoing – a transformation involving technical innovation, operational improvements, new design strategies, and changes in the datacentre supply chain, he added.
More on datacentre energy efficiency
Datacentre efficiency boosted by cloud and virtualisation
The research also explored the effect of emerging IT trends, such as cloud computing and virtualisation, on datacentres.
Use of virtualisation by businesses has become one of the most effective steps to improving power efficiency in the datacentre, said Woods.
“However, virtualisation in itself may not lead to reduced energy costs,” he said.
To gain the maximum benefits from virtualisation, datacentre managers will have to optimise other components of the datacentre infrastructure to support the higher‑density computing environments.
Cloud computing too has many datacentre energy-efficiency advantages, the research suggested. It allows IT executives to buy IT services when demand rises, thereby saving costs on cooling IT resources that would otherwise have to be purchased in anticipation of high demands.
However, new metrics and new levels of transparency are required if IT professionals want to fully assess the affect of cloud computing on the environment, the report further found.
While building and certifying a green datacentre can be expensive up front, long-term cost savings can be realised on operations and maintenance. It will also help businesses comply with stricter EU regulations on carbon emissions, as well as the UK Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) standards.