Survey reveals low awareness of escalating need for data center efficiency

New York, NY, Feb. 19, 2009 — Given the growing strain placed on the power grid every day and the increasing demand for data processing and storage, corporations have no choice but to start identifying areas to amplify energy efficiencies immediately. However, according to a survey by Siemens many companies are uncertain about how to best accomplish new efficiency expectations. The new study, which examined general IT efficiency attitudes and practices, revealed nearly three quarters of the Fortune 2000 respondents (87 percent) believe it is important to pursue overall energy efficient practices, but only 48 percent have a stated goal to reduce their carbon footprint, and even less have begun to take action.

“As businesses continue to search for ways to save money and alleviate the strain on the power grid, green technology across the board is becoming a necessity rather than just ‘the right thing to do’ — examining and implementing data center efficiencies is one major area we cannot overlook,” stated Ken Cornelius, CEO of Siemens One, a business unit of Siemens AG. “If we do not start looking closely at our data centers now, 70 percent of the world’s data centers will have tangible system disruptions by 2011 and the systems will experience world-wide brown outs over the course of the next five years.”

Data centers alone account for 2.5 percent of the world’s energy use, which is expected to grow by an astonishing 12 percent a year, placing even more strain on the power grid. The EPA notes that the energy used by data centers in the U.S. is more than the electricity consumed by all of the nation’s color TV sets and comparable to the electricity consumption of approximately 5.8 million homes. According to the survey, a majority (65 percent) of Fortune 2000 companies recently reported that the costs of running their data centers have increased over the last few years.

Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said the size of the investment was the primary barrier to improving their data center energy efficiency, followed by lack of specific information on the return of the investment for making changes (38 percent), server down time required to implement changes (38 percent), and concerns about running legacy software on new systems (34 percent).

Companies are concerned about their data centers exceeding processing capacity and the risk of losing their data. One-quarter (27 percent) worry a “brown out” or exceeding process capacity will affect their data centers, while 27 percent are worried about losing data, 15 percent worry about aging facilities, and 10 percent expressed concern about high energy costs.

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