Comatose Data Center Servers may be Costing More Than you Realize

It’s been a couple years since research revealed a startling discovery: Across the board, in various industries, more data centers were sitting comatose than realized. The study, which was conducted by Stanford University and Anthesis, found that about 30 percent of servers were what they described as “comatose” — not providing computing services for at least six months.

That study confirmed what the research firm Gartner had earlier indicated — about 80 percent of IT budgets are spent to simply “keep the lights on” and only 20 percent to create new business applications.

Also, McKinsey and Company pointed to an overall inefficiency: The typical data center in enterprise companies only delivers 5 percent to 15 percent of its maximum computing output on average each year.

Since this news hit, many companies have been trying to identify these comatose or “zombie” data centers — not only to gain efficiencies but to address increasing environmental concerns about the massive amounts of resources used by data centers.Comatose Data Center Servers may be Costing More Than you Realize

Costs could be significant

For many companies, addressing comatose or underutilized servers is a no-brainer in trying to capture savings, while freeing up funds to invest in research and innovation.

Yet, as another recent study by Uptime Institute points out, the true cost of underutilized servers may be much more significant than you realize.

Using two similar companies as examples, the Uptime Institute calculated the costs that each company could gain or lose over a 5-year period — based on a decision to allow data servers to remain comatose/idle or significantly reduce those numbers.

Within the first year, the company aggressively decommissioning 1,000 servers would gain savings of $672,000 in energy costs, reduced hardware and asset resale. The company that did nothing would waste $1 million in comparison, spending needlessly on energy as well as inadequate use of staff.

After a 5-year period, Uptime projected, the company taking action could realize a savings of more than $4 million compared to $6.5 million in waste and opportunities for the other company.

As all these studies point out, the cost of a doing nothing could be extensive for companies of any size.

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Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.