The Worldwide Green Data Center report findings were announced today by Symantec, a supplement to the company's recently released 2007 State of the Data Center study. Nearly three-fourths of respondents state they have interest in adopting a strategic green data center initiative; however, only one in seven have been successful at implementing a green data center, illustrating a stark contrast between interest and execution. For the purpose of this study, a green data center is defined as having increased efficiencies in energy usage, power consumption, space utilization and reduction of polluting energy sources.

"Data center managers are running out of space and energy costs are skyrocketing, so they are motivated to 'green' the data center for cost reduction and efficiency purposes," said Mark Bregman, executive vice president, chief technology officer, Symantec. "The report findings indicate that cost savings and constant business pressure to maintain performance and meet increasingly aggressive service level agreements are the main reasons for implementing many green strategies. For them it is beyond environmental concerns -- it is about meeting business goals and reducing costs."

Participants noted that while energy efficiency is a priority, it must be balanced by business needs. The increasing emphasis on creating energy efficiencies has added another layer of complexity in managing today's data center. To better manage and reduce costs, the study finds that many data center professionals are increasingly turning to software solutions, including those to manage server consolidation and virtualized environments as they develop and implement their green initiatives.

Software is a Top Strategy for Creating Energy Efficiencies

Data center managers indicate that software designed for server consolidation and server virtualization are the most popular solutions in creating energy efficiencies, with 51 and 47 percent indicating plans to consolidate and virtualize servers respectively. In fact, 68 percent of respondents indicate that reducing energy played a role in their decision to implement virtualization and server consolidation. In addition to server consolidation and virtualization, those who implement a green data center strategy are more likely to use software for storage resource management, server management and data deduplication.

Respondents also revealed that most data center managers are at least planning to implement power management products, with 30 percent implementing on selected equipment, 13 percent on equipment throughout the data center, and 34 percent either planning to use or currently evaluating.

Hardware-Based Solutions Still Key

In addition to server virtualization and consolidation, energy efficient CPUs were the second most popular technology for data center power reduction, with 28 percent of respondents citing this as one of the two technologies they think will reduce power consumption.

The following were also described as possible solutions that respondents either plan to implement, or are currently implementing: replacing old equipment with more energy-efficient equipment (44 percent), recycling obsolete hardware components(39 percent), monitoring power consumption (38 percent), and reducing the space used by servers (37 percent).

Worldwide Adoption Varies

Slightly more than a third of companies based in the United States (U.S.) said they have corporate green policies, while almost 60 percent of companies from Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) and 55 percent of European companies have them. According to the research, companies from Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico and South Korea are more likely to have green data center policies than not. Regionally, organizations with larger data center budgets implement green data center strategies more frequently than those with smaller budgets.

Server consolidation and virtualization implementations are more prevalent in U.S.-based companies and surpass implementations in other parts of the world. In contrast, while there are fewer APJ organizations currently implementing consolidation/virtualization strategies in their data centers, the majority of IT managers (88 percent) from this region who do, cite energy consumption and energy reduction as the primary reason.