Rocketing IT-related electricity costs are causing concern among businesses as they eat an increasing proportion of facilities and tech budgets.
Two-thirds of silicon.com's 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said the proportion of budget taken up by energy and electricity costs is rising rapidly.
The issue is not so much that electricity costs are rising - which they are - but the rate at which they are rising and, in doing so, eating up a greater proportion of the tech or facilities budget.
Jane Kimberlin, IT director at Domino's Pizza Group, said: "The cost of energy is a real problem for us as a business and is disproportionate to other increasing costs. The IT budget does not include energy costs as they are picked up by the facilities budgets but nonetheless a problem for our overall business."
The problem with a lot of IT equipment is that while the cost of the hardware has been driven down the cost of running and maintaining it has gone up, according to Gavin Whatrup, group IT director at marketing agency Creston.
He said: "We are already being presented with surcharges from hosting and co-location companies which are, I expect, to finance the additional systems and equipment specifically required to cope with increased risk to supply. The pro-rata rate from energy suppliers will increase, as will the demand. Therefore we should cover the obvious bases, such as consolidation and virtualisation, first."
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Mark Dearnley, CIO at Cable & Wireless, said: "It now costs more in electricity to run a server than buy it in the first place."
Steve Clarke, head of internal computing at AOL UK, said: "Right now, my team are investigating data centre costs. It's no longer the square footage you have to worry about, even in the centre of London, it's the cost of power and cooling."
The other issue is being able to accurately measure how much of an organisation's electricity bill is due to IT consumption.
One IT director, who did not wish to be named, said: "We run a small data centre within a large office and the problem we have is to isolate IT related electricity spending from general facility. I set up a small 'green IT' team to review the issues, only to find their first problem was to get specific metrics to help identify the scope of the problem and impact of solutions to it."
But not everyone is seeing a sharp increase in IT-related electricity costs. Neil Harvey, head of IT and accommodation at the Food Standards Agency, said: "They are rising, though I would suggest no more than other facility costs."
Paul Broome, CTO at 192.com, said: "We have fortunately replaced nearly all of our aircraft carrier-class servers with much more efficient systems in terms of energy consumptions. The new 2.5" hard disk drive systems seem to be far more power efficient."
Today's CIO Jury was…
Paul Broome, CTO, 192.com
Steve Clarke, head of internal computing, AOL UK
Mark Dearnley, CIO, Cable & Wireless
Michael Elliot, IT director, Hasbro UK
Steve Gediking, head of IT and facilities, Independent Police Complaints Commission
Neil Harvey, head of IT and accommodation, Food Standards Agency
Myron Hrycyk, UK CIO, NYK Logistics
Jane Kimberlin, IT director, Domino's Pizza Group
Christopher Linfoot, IT director, LDV Group
Richard Steel, CIO, London Borough of Newham
Norman Swift, John Lewis
Gavin Whatrup, group IT director, Creston
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