Datacenter Energy Costs on the Rise as Western European Organizations Spent EUR1.6 Billion to Power Servers in 2007, Estimates IDC

LONDON – October 2, 2008 – A recent study from IDC has put the energy issue that datacenters are facing in Europe on the map, throwing some light on its actual impact on organizations. The research shows how the amount of energy required by servers and datacenters is climbing at a worrying speed, and has grown annually by more than 13% between 2006 and 2007.

"Such a rise in energy demands can be explained by the growing number of active servers in the region, but also – and most importantly – by the electricity requirement that machines, on average, have due to multicore technology and enhanced hardware feature," said Giorgio Nebuloni, research analyst with IDC European Systems and Infrastructure Solutions. "The efforts that industry players have started to put into building energy-efficient components are not enough to balance the rise of energy needs. To contain them, organizations have to act on the infrastructure level, adopting best practices and redesigning their facility to improve cooling and power processes."

In 2007, servers in Western Europe consumed more than 16.3TWh, which is almost twice the amount of electricity needed every year to power all street lighting and traffic signals in the U.K. At a datacenter level, IDC estimates the consumption levels in Western Europe to have exceeded 40TWh in 2007 and this is expected to grow to more than 42TWh in 2008.

"When addressing power issues, everyone naturally links the topic to a general plan of cost saving. What few companies seem to grasp though is the extent to which energy will impact the IT infrastructure bottom line in the next year. At a cost of 10.71 euro cents per kWh, electricity is a large source of costs. Last year, EUR1.6 billion was spent on powering servers throughout Western Europe, which translated into EUR4.4 billion for entire datacenters," added Nathaniel Martinez, program director, European Enterprise Servers. "Unless a drastic change in products and company practices occurs, things will not get any better in the future. In 2012, we could face a scenario where for every euro spent on buying new servers, more than EUR0.80 will be needed to power the existing datacenter infrastructure."

"European organizations must also reconsider their organizational procedures if they are to cope with the impact that the datacenter energy bill has on the bottom line of their finance," said Nebuloni. "To reach this goal, they have to engage in TCO calculations, including detailed energy expenses, and they must encourage a much tighter cooperation between facility management and the IT department, which, in most cases, still work without any coordination whatsoever."

IDC's The Energy Footprint of the European Server Infrastructure 2006-2007, and 2008-2012 Forecast (IDC #GE06Q, September 2008) has leveraged IDC server installed base data and recent research on the typical power consumption of different server models to provide historical and forecast figures for energy consumption and expenses caused both directly by servers and by the surrounding datacenter infrastructures. Drill downs are provided in server class, form factor, socket capability, and geography.

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About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 44 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company.

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