IT managers looking to keep their budgets under control would be well-advised to check their spending on energy-related costs to run their data centers. A new report by research firm Gartner concluded that energy-related expenses account for approximately 12 percent of overall data center costs and are the fastest rising data center expense.
Despite the wide availability of measurement tools and energy conservation consultants and services, Gartner (NYSE: IT) analyst Rakesh Kumar said data center operators struggle with figuring out the best place to measure the energy in their facilities.
"What is needed is a breakdown of the ideal approach to data center energy management into a pragmatic approach that will provide sufficient information for most operational planning purposes," Kumar, a research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "To do this, data center operators need to measure energy-related data across the whole site, including the building, the facility's components and the IT equipment portfolio."
He added, "With upwards of 5 percent growth for server shipments predicted per year over the next two years, organizations need to forcefully control their energy consumption and costs."
As more enterprises see a growing need to get a better handle on energy costs, Gartner expects that continuous power utilization efficiency (PUE) readings will become the norm for most large data centers. By 2015, the research firm expects that 80 percent of new large data centers will report continuous PUE readings across the facility.
The report also said that for enterprises to get a comprehensive, accurate and real-time record of the energy used in data centers, users need to measure across six distinct areas consisting of the building, electrical facilities, building facilities, racks, IT hardware and virtual machines (VMs).
Gartner said the advantage of measuring across these areas is that it gives data center operators a highly detailed, comprehensive and, in most cases, a real-time usage picture of the energy that is being consumed across the whole site.
"Energy management across IT hardware, racks and electrical facilities should be tackled immediately, while measurements across data center building facilities and buildings will be necessary mainly for hosting providers that want to charge customers specifically for energy usage," Kumar said.
"Measurement across VMs will happen during the next four or more years, becoming relevant when users want to examine the energy associated with a workload and when that workload is running in a separate VM," he added.