Asian Data Centers to Continue Energy-Guzzling Ways?

Asian Data Centers to Continue Energy-Guzzling Ways?

Government investment in broadband internet, consumer demand for internet content, and businesses rising to take advantage of that supply and demand have all led to a significant boom in data center services in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

That growth, which the company predicts will continue at 14.6 per year between 2009 and 2011, will make the market for data centers worth as much as US$10.7 billion by the end of next year.

Unfortunately, growth in demand has not yet led to a similar growth in green IT practices. Although data centers are taking advantage of more space-intensive hardware like blade servers -- and updating their HVAC systems to match the increased energy draws -- there is still a gap in knowledge and abilities about greening the data center.

"Not many data centre owners in Asia-Pac have embraced [virtualization, utility computing, or other green IT practices] in their facilities due to the skills required and the huge cost involved in implementation and maintenance," Chengyu Wu said in a statement.

Alongside an unwillingness or inability to invest in green IT training and technology, there has been minimal adoption from users, which Wu said was due to a lack of compliance and governance.

Data centers in Asia are also by and large located in the region's largest cities -- Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, and others -- which can lead to increased costs and further slow the growth of green IT practices.

In other parts of the world, companies are increasingly locating their data centers in regions where they can take advantage of free cooling from the outside air. Hewlett-Packard last week unveiled its first wind-cooled data center in the U.K. Late last month, the social networking giant Facebook announced its own plans for an outdoor-air cooled green data center, this one in Oregon.

Data centers, which are widely believed to be responsible for about 2 percent of the world's electricity use, have long been the focus of a number of greening practices, focused largely on saving costs by improving energy efficiency. That trend is also happening in the Asia-Pacific region, the report finds.

"The focus on green initiatives has moved rightly in the direction of cost savings rather than corporate social responsibility in the past twelve months," Wu said, "with discussions around new concepts such as virtualization, green data centers and utility computing emerging in the data center segment."

More information about the report, "Asia Pacific Data Center Services Market 2008," is available from Frost & Sullivan.