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Cloud Computing a Game Changer for Energy Efficient IT

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CDW has published its fourth annual “Energy Efficient IT Report,” which features solution ratings maps to identify data center solutions that offer the greatest potential for cost reductions, as well as those that offer the greatest ease of approval and implementation.

According to CDW findings, U.S. organizations have favorable attitudes about energy efficient data center solutions. Forty-three percent of IT professionals said green initiatives are a top driver for their data center consolidation efforts, up from 34 percent in 2010. More than half of respondents (54 percent) have or are developing programs to manage power demand in the data center. 

The report, based on a survey of 760 IT professionals in the public and private sectors across the United States, also details the extent of market adoption for energy efficient data center solutions.

Survey respondents report that the energy efficient technologies and solutions implemented most often are as follows:  virtualized servers or storage (65 percent); server consolidation (60 percent); low-power/low-wattage processors (46 percent); ENERGY STAR qualifying devices (44 percent);  power-efficient networking equipment (31 percent); and energy-efficient/load-shedding uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) (28 percent).

Cloud computing could be a game changer for energy efficient IT.  Sixty-two percent of respondents said they agree that cloud computing is an energy efficient approach to data center consolidation, up from 47 percent in 2010.

“While cloud computing is a market basket of discrete technologies and services,” said Norm Lillis, vice president, systems solutions, at CDW. “it is entirely about IT efficiency, and as a strategy, it can deliver significant energy savings that will complement other solutions within the data center.”

Of those organizations that have programs, 75 percent have reduced their IT energy costs.  On average, survey respondents reported that one-third (32 percent) of their data center purchasing in the last three months can be classified as green –  energy efficient, water efficient, bio-based, environmentally preferable or non-ozone depleting.

While favorable sentiment is growing, familiar barriers that discourage organizations from implementing energy efficient data center solutions remain stubbornly in play. Respondents say they need information and measurement tools to help them assess energy use, potential savings and the results of their investments.

For the last three years, CDW’s survey has found that respondents want an objective breakdown of power and energy use within IT, a clearer set of industry standards for what constitutes energy efficient IT and easier identification of energy-efficient equipment.  Only eight percent of respondents find it easy to estimate energy use or savings based on the equipment specifications provided by manufacturers.

“Like any other aspect of IT, energy efficiency in the data center is a multi-layer stack of solutions working together, and all available solutions deserve consideration. The combination that makes the most sense will vary with the unique environment in a data center,” said Lillis. “CDW’s Solution Ratings Maps are a reflection of how we work every day with customers to help them identify the best solutions for their objectives.  They can facilitate IT’s conversations with upper management about energy efficiency and data center optimization strategies.”

Online versions of CDW’s Solution Ease Ratings Map and Solution Savings Ratings Map give users an interactive experience that helps them identify prospective next investments in energy efficient IT solutions for their organization. Based on data from IT managers who have implemented each solution, CDW’s ratings maps show which solutions perform best on current and future energy cost savings, and on ease of implementation and management support.

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