Increased sensitivity to data center energy efficiency, continued volatility around energy prices and economic pressures continue the scrutiny over data center costs and the tie to environmental consumption. In addition, as heat densities for IT equipment increase, more and more legacy data centers are up against the threshold of energy capacity and floorspace. So what do these realities mean to the CIO?
- The CIO in most organizations is not the owner of data center energy consumption, costs, planning, or strategies.
- The CIO is the buyer or the broker of IT services for the application owners and the information managers.
- Data center inefficiencies pass from the CTO to the CIO and ultimately to the application owners and business unit executives who foot the bill.
- Ultimately those data center inefficiencies impact product costs and squeeze margins.
It's a simple equation with what seems to be an obvious conclusion -- data center costs have a direct impact on enterprise competitive stance. But in too many organizations, data center power consumption is not metered separately, creating a disconnect. After all, the CTO can’t improve what isn't being measured. And if you can’t measure, you can’t pass the improvements to the CIO, application owners, the businesses, and ultimately the customers.
Give a Little, Get A Lot
Measurement is resisted because it sometimes requires downtime and other interruptions that inconvenience end-users and impact the business. But for CIOs and their end-users, measurements can have big payoffs. Give a little, get a lot. And part of the challenge to the CIO in getting application heads fully behind the value with downtime and other costs associated with improving data center efficiency through measurement is getting everyone understand the standards, the milestones, and the payoffs – reducing power consumption, increasing data center efficiency, and in the end increasing the competitiveness of the business.
Action Item: CIOs need to get a handle on data center power consumption before it becomes a critical issue to application owners and business managers. Start by getting a copy of the energy bill and estimating the percent consumption by application and forecast consumption given database, application, and end-user growth estimates. Work with your CTO to develop plans and practices to manage energy thresholds at an application-level on an ongoing basis, with the goal of passing these efficiencies on the business managers through improved margins and higher customer satisfaction.