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Companies with most servers unlikely to prioritise energy efficiency

servers

Companies with fewer ICT servers or younger IT managers are twice as likely to prioritise energy efficiency, according to a new survey.

Despite the dramatic rise in energy prices over the last 12 months and frequent warnings from environment agencies, UK organisations with large numbers of servers are still unlikely to prioritise energy efficiency.

Compiled in a new report from server manufacturer ASUS indicates that organisations with fewer servers prioritise energy efficiency far more highly. For example, among organisations with 2-5 servers: 62 per cent agree that energy efficiency should be a factor in their server purchasing decisions, compared with just six per cent that disagree.

More (71 per cent) say that energy efficiency is a factor in such decisions. 62 per cent agree that server-related energy costs should be a line-item in their IT budgets, while eight per cent disagree. 89 per cent say that server-related energy as a line item in the IT budget, and nine per cent say they are not. 81 per cent say their IT department has an energy-efficiency and sustainability policy. Three per cent say energy efficiency is of less importance when purchasing servers than it was 12 months ago.

One explanation for the variation between the organisations with more/fewer servers may be expectations around energy prices: respondents from organisations with 10+ servers are twice as optimistic as respondents from organisations with 2-5 servers that energy prices will revert to long-term norms within two years.

The age of respondents heavily influences their prioritisation of ICT energy efficiency. For example:  57 per cent of respondents aged 25-34 agreed that server-related energy costs should be a line item in their IT budgets, with 21 per cent disagreeing. Among respondents aged 55 or over, just 19 per cent agreed and almost half (46 per cent) disagreed.

Fifty-five per cent of respondents aged 25-34 say that energy efficiency should be a factor in server purchasing decisions. This fell to 51 per cent for 35-44 year olds, 51 per cent for 45-54 year olds, and 42 per cent for respondents 55 or over.

Younger respondents are almost twice as likely to act on their prioritisation of energy efficiency. When asked  ‘Is energy efficiency a priority in the server purchase process?’ 60 per cent of respondents aged 25-34 and 61 per cent of respondents aged 35-44 said Yes; just 15 per cent of 25-34 year olds said No. Thirty-one per cent of respondents aged 55 or over said Yes, while 46 per cent of this cohort said No.

Morten Mjels, ASUS’s UK & Ireland country product manager for servers, said: “In the survey, we also asked respondents to identify the top three factors in their server purchasing decisions, and it would have been perfectly possible for any respondent to say, well, ‘performance, energy efficiency, warranty and these are equally important’, or ‘price, energy efficiency, performance and these are equally important’. But they didn’t: the data seem to indicate that purchasers think there’s a trade-off between these attributes – forcing IT managers and procurement departments to choose based on which attribute is most important to their organisation.”

In February 2020, the European Commission declared: “…the ICT sector also needs to undergo [a] green transformation. The environmental footprint of the sector is significant, estimated at 5-9 per cent of the world’s total electricity use and more than two per cent of all emissions. ICT will need to become more energy efficient, reuse waste energy, and use more renewable energy sources. They can and should become climate neutral by 2030.”

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