“The importance of energy to the continued operation and development of data centers is reflected in the priority given to concerns associated with it,” said Nick Parfitt for DatacenterDynamics Research. The study, “Global Data Center Energy Demand Forecasting,” is drawn from respondents to the DatacenterDynamics Industry Census 2011, reveals that 44 percent of those surveyed believe increased energy costs will impact significantly on their data center operations in the next 12 months.

The DatacenterDynamics Industry Census 2011 is the largest survey ever into the global data center community. Survey respondents are responsible for nearly 100,000 data centers, over 7,000,000 equipment racks and a total power consumption of around 31 GW—enough energy to power all residential households in the United Kingdom, France, or Italy.

The rapidly expanding and developing nature of the global data center industry as depicted in the Market Growth report (published September 7, 2011) also has a profound impact of the use of energy; the Power and Energy Report projects a 19 percent increase in the rate of data center energy consumption in 2012. Energy costs to power and cool IT servers, storage and network equipment are already the highest data center operating expense.

At the same time, 42 percent of respondents believe that the development of more energy efficient physical infrastructure such as cooling units, UPS and power distribution equipment, will have significant impact on energy use. Since the introduction of the voluntary EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres and metrics such as the Green Grid’s PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness), there has been greater awareness of the proportion of the power overhead required to support the “productive” energy expended to provide compute cycles (e.g., useful work).

Those surveyed are also trusting in developments in virtualisation (40 percent - ranked third) to help increase utilisation of IT servers and therefore lower the effective cost of production. Developments such as the uptake of data centre infrastructure management software already integrates the physical layer with virtual machines, helping data center and IT managers to plan capacity requirements as well as physical machine placement, further enhancing resource utilisation and facility efficiency.

Despite the much publicised projections regarding the uptake of Cloud computing (and its preference for high density data center architecture), the DatacenterDynamics Industry Census 2011 sample demonstrates an average power density of around 4.05 kW/ rack. The overall profile is 58 percent under 5kW/ rack; 28 percent 5kW-10kW/ rack; and 14 percent racks over 10kW/ rack.

The Global Data Center Energy Demand Forecastingstudy can be downloaded free by visiting http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/research.