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12 green data centers worth emulating from Apple to Verne

Could failure to plan for a power-hungry data center be thwarting your company's growth?

The bad news: Close to 60 percent of IT decision makers say the state of their data center is "fair, serious or urgent," and at the brink of running out of capacity in 2014, according to a report by UBM Tech and InformationWeek. Twenty-two percent of 100 executives said they regularly track energy usage in their data centers. However, in the online survey "The State of Data Center Evolution," 42 percent never or seldom track energy efficiency.

The good news: Heavy-hitters in cloud computing -- including Google, Facebook, Apple and eBay -- are fast at work developing data and operational models that can pave the way for other companies' efforts.

The Cloud Energy and Emission Research (CLEER) framework, for example, highlights when happens when applications move from on-premises hosting and into the public cloud, where infrastructure is often built for energy-efficiency.

Adobe, eBay, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, Salesforce and Symantec have joined the Future of Internet Power initiative to showcase low-carbon power. IBM is heavily into promoting green data center design: the European Commission honored 27 of them in January 2012.

EBay also has raised the bar by with its Digital Service Efficiency (DSE) methodology, which links how many "buy" or "sell" business transactions are completed per kilowatt-hour.

The next 12 data centers and co-location facilities stand out for innovative cooling, green energy or head-turning designs. 

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