Over the next five years green data center gear and software will grow from a relatively niche market into almost a third of the overall data center market. That’s according to a new report out this morning from Pike Research, which says that investment into greener data centers already generates $7.5 billion in global revenue, and will soar to $41.4 billion by 2015.
Surprised that energy efficiency in a few short years will be de rigueur in data centers? Well, you wouldn’t be if you were managing the budget for an IT company with a rapidly ramping up energy bill due to data center energy consumption. The electricity used by the world’s servers alone doubled between 2000 and 2005, to about 123 billion kilowatt-hours, and if current trends continue, data center power use is likely to increase another 76 percent by 2010. It’s all because of our increasing always-on Internet habits and the data centers that need to be built to power them.
Last week Facebook said it plans to double the size of its new data center before it’s even built. Facebook has gotten slack for choosing to build its data center in a largely coal-powered region, and Greenpeace responded this week saying Facebok’s choice to expand its data center meant it’s “irresponsibly chosen to double-down its bet on dirty energy.” However, Facebook has been touting “the greenness” — the basic energy efficiency — of its data center for months, siting the low PUE rating and the efficiency of its design and cooling systems. At this point, energy efficiency is a clear savings choice for data center operators, while clean power is not.
According to a report out from research firm Forrester last month 70 percent of companies are already doing the simple energy-saving low-hanging fruit like virtualizing servers — replacing server hardware with software — which eliminates the energy consumption of the retired machines. About half of the companies in the Forrester survey are already (or planning on) rearranging the hot and cool aisles in data centers to optimize cooling. Cooling systems for data centers often come in the form of large chillers, and can be responsible for half of the data center’s energy consumption. And a quarter of the companies in the Forrester survey said they had already implemented precision cooling, which is cooling systems targeted at certain sections of the data center.
According to the Pike report out this morning, power and cooling infrastructure solutions will represent the largest portion of the green data center market with 46 of the revenue, while energy efficient IT equipment will generate 41 of the revenue, and monitoring and management will follow with 14 percent of the revenue.
Green data center gear is looking to be an opportunity for startups and M&A as well. This week century old power management company Eaton said it has agreed to acquire Wright Line Holding, a company that sells data center energy management hardware. Last month General Electric said it invested in SynapSense, a startup which makes wireless monitoring and management systems that track energy consumption for data centers.
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