Gartner: Turn server heat up to 75

Report also recommends developing metrics to measure energy efficiency, using SPECpower benchmark, and improving use of existing infrastructure

Datacenter managers should turn server temperatures up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and adopt more aggressive policies for IT energy measurement, Gartner says in a new report.

Five tools to prevent energy waste in the data center

[ Also on InfoWorld: Free smart cooling? Play an ACE. | Get weekly updates on green IT new by subscribing to InfoWorld's free Green Tech newsletter. ]

After conducting a Web-based survey of 130 infrastructure and operations managers, Gartner concluded that measurement and monitoring of datacenter energy use will remain immature through 2011. Only 7 percent of respondents said their top priorities include procurement of green products and pushing vendors to create more energy efficient technology. In general, datacenter managers are not paying enough attention to measuring, monitoring, and modeling of energy use.

"Although the green IT and datacenter energy issue has been on the agenda for some time now, many managers feel that they have to deal with more immediate concerns before focusing attention on their suppliers’ products,” Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner, said in a news release. “In other words, even if more energy efficient servers or energy management tools were available, datacenter and IT managers are far more interested in internal projects like consolidation, rationalization and virtualization.”

About 63 percent of survey respondents expect to face datacenter capacity constraints in the next 18 months, and 15 percent said they are already using all available capacity and will have to build new datacenters or refurbish existing ones within the next year. In a troubling sign, 48 percent of respondents have not yet considered metrics for energy management.

Gartner issued four recommendations for improving energy management:

Raise the temperature at the server inlet point up to 71 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), but use sensors to monitor potential hotspots.

• Develop a dashboard of datacenter energy-efficient metrics that provides appropriate data to different levels of IT and financial management.

• Use the SPECpower benchmark to evaluate the relative energy efficiency of servers.

• Improve the use of the existing infrastructure through consolidation and virtualization before building out or buying new/additional datacenter floor space.

In addition to Gartner’s report, a recent survey by CDW illustrates trends related to datacenter efficiency. CDW surveyed 752 IT pros in U.S. organizations for its 2009 Energy Efficient IT Report, finding that 59 percent are training employees to shut down equipment when they leave the office, and 46 percent have implemented or are implementing server virtualization.

The recession has helped convince IT organizations of the financial value of power-saving measures, with greater numbers implementing storage virtualization, and managing cable placement to keep under-floor cooling chambers open and thus reduce demand on cooling systems. CDW found that 43 percent of IT shops have implemented remote monitoring and management of their datacenters, up from 29 percent the year before.

Datacenter managers are finding it easier to identify energy-efficient equipment because of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Energy Star program for servers. But datacenters are still missing many opportunities to save money on energy costs.

“Energy reduction efforts are yielding significant results … Still, most are spending millions more on energy than necessary,” CDW writes. “If the average organization surveyed were to take full advantage of energy-savings measures, IT professionals estimate they could save $1.5M annually.”

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter

This story, "Gartner: Turn server heat up to 75" was originally published by Network World.