Three-quarters of IT departments are working to reduce energy use, CDW-G survey finds

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CDW Government LLC (CDW-G), a leading source of Information Technology (IT) solutions to government, education and healthcare customers, today released its 2010 Energy Efficient IT Report, based on a July survey of 756 information technology (IT) professionals in the public and private sectors who purchase IT equipment. The survey found that three-quarters of U.S. organizations are working to reduce energy use in IT operations, from the desktop to the data center. Two-thirds of respondents say understanding best practices in energy efficient IT is critical to their profession.

Now in its third year, CDW-G\’s annual Energy Efficient IT Report examines where energy efficiency ranks among IT priorities, how organizations are improving efficiency and challenges that hinder the achievement of efficiency goals. CDW-G surveyed 756 IT professionals in business; Federal, state and local government; and K-12 and higher education.

Organizations undertake IT energy reduction efforts for two good reasons: cost savings and reduced environmental impact. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that each basic office outfitted with an energy-efficient desktop computer, LCD monitor and multi-function device such as a printer/copy machine can save $365 throughout the life of the equipment. Meanwhile, a 2008 McKinsey & Company study projects that the world’s data centers will outstrip the airline industry in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

\”Energy efficiency is no longer an afterthought, but a key requirement in many organizations\’ IT purchasing plans,\” said Norm Lillis, vice president, system solutions, at CDW. \”Not only is excess energy consumption a drain on budgets, it also limits the ability of IT managers to provide more and better IT services to employees and customers when aging data centers approach the limits of their power sources. Improving energy efficiency is often the only way to enable improved computing performance in a power-constrained environment.\”

Energy reduction efforts are paying off, CDW-G found. Of those organizations that are already actively managing IT energy use, 56 percent have reduced their annual IT energy costs by 1 percent or more – up from 39 percent in 2008.

CDW-G found that energy efficiency has increased importance in the purchasing equation, with 39 percent indicating that it is a very important consideration when purchasing new equipment, compared to 26 percent in 2009. In addition, many organizations are taking innovative approaches to reducing IT energy use.

Two-thirds are doing at least one of the following:

  • Deploying more power-efficient core switches
  • Replacing edge and workgroup switches with more power-efficient switches
  • Using the network as a platform to manage and reduce energy use
  • Adopting 10GB Ethernet, Infiniband technologies
  • Reducing storage area network infrastructure by implementing Fibre-channel Over Ethernet (FcOE)
  • Moving to top-of-rack models for access layer switching

Many organizations are pursuing data center consolidation to reduce IT energy costs. Data centers, which deliver IT services such as data storage, communications and Internet accessibility, account for 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption at a cost of $4.5 billion annually. In June, the EPA projected that amount would nearly double in the next five years.

CDW-G found that 79 percent of organizations have or are developing a strategy to consolidate the servers, storage devices, power management tools and other equipment that comprise data centers. Sixty percent of those say reducing energy consumption is a top driver for consolidation, second only to reducing data center hardware, software and operations expenditures (61 percent).

\”In many organizations, the majority of tasks have moved to the IT network – routine telecommunications, audio and video conferencing, financial transactions and records, document management and more – increasing demands on the IT department exponentially,\” added Lillis. \”Controlling energy use in the data center goes hand in glove with enabling growth of application provisioning, communications infrastructure and data storage in the same physical space.\”

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