SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Digital Realty Trust, Inc. is reporting that its recently released study of green data center trends shows that the lack of standardization is a major barrier to implementing green programs involving data centers.

“When we conducted our first green data center study last year, respondents expressed concern about the lack of industry standards for green data centers. The impact of that concern is very evident in this year’s survey. Companies are looking for leadership and clarity on how to define a green data center, how to design their green data center plans, and how to put them into action,” said Jim Smith, vice president of Engineering at Digital Realty Trust. “In the past, the question may have been how to convince companies of the value of green data centers. The good news is that is no longer a problem. Companies are convinced. The challenge is that the data center industry needs to step up and show the way with clear standards.”

Key findings from the research study were be discussed in a webinar to be hosted by Digital Realty Trust on April 28th. These finding include:
  • 51 percent of companies have a green data center strategy, a decline since the 2007 study when 55 percent of companies answered the question affirmatively. This indicates that corporate adoption of green data center strategies has stalled or perhaps taken a step back since last year.
  • 82 percent of companies say there is no clear industry standard for green data centers. This figure is up from 75 percent in 2007, indicating that there is more ambiguity than clarity in the industry.
  • One area where there was broad agreement was in what elements an industry standard should comprise.
The top two responses were:
  • 94 percent agreed that a standard should outline how to achieve efficient power usage (i.e. maximizing energy delivered to IT equipment by the facility)
  • 83 percent agreed that a standard should also outline how to enhance HVAC systems to use energy more efficiently
In the absence of green data center standards, companies cite LEED certification as the best alternative. More than 60 percent of companies look to LEED general building standards as a model for their green data center initiatives. The Green Grid was also cited as a resource for green data center initiatives, indicating that the consortium is gaining visibility and momentum in the industry.

Of the companies that do have a green data center strategy, 82 percent are taking a holistic approach that encompasses not only servers and other data center hardware, but also facility design and data center operations. This is nearly identical to the 2007 metric (81 percent), indicating that companies understand the value of taking a comprehensive approach that maximizes energy efficiency by addressing not just the equipment in the data center, but the facility itself.

Only 18 percent of companies are planning to include carbon credits in their green data center plans, down from a figure of 25 percent in 2007. This indicates that companies are focusing on directly reducing their data center energy consumption rather than displacing it through carbon credits solutions.

Digital Realty Trust is also publishing results from a Europe-focused study of green data center trends. The European survey shows that green data center initiatives currently have greater momentum in the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

Metrics reported in this study are based on web-based surveys of IT decision makers at large corporations in North America with revenues of at least $1 billion and/or a size of at least 5000+ employees. All survey participants are involved in the process of managing corporate data centers, implementing new data centers or expanding existing data centers; and more than 80 percent of respondents are directly involved in final decisions regarding data center initiatives. The survey was conducted in March 2008.