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Businesses Will Pay More For 'Green' Data Centers

More than half of its customers are willing to pay 5% to 10% more for green products and green services, according to a survey of customers by managed hosting specialist Rackspace.

Businesses are concerned about the environmental impact of their IT and data center operations, and are willing to pay extra for "greener" products and services, according to a recent study by Rackspace Managed Hosting.

More than half of its customers are willing to pay 5% to 10% more for green products and green services, according to a survey of about 400 customers by managed hosting specialist Rackspace. The survey also found that 55% are taking green steps within their operations, and 21% said they chose green vendors and products when possible. The survey found that 14% of respondents believe use of green vendors is a central component of their corporate strategy, and 59% said green vendors are important.

Rackspace operates eight data centers globally containing about 30,000 servers, and is adding about 400 servers a month, John Engates, Rackspace's chief technology officer, said in an interview. Green efforts are already well established in Europe, and will be of increasing concern in the United States in the next five years, he said.

"We've been engaged in a lot of projects to figure out how we can cut our impact on the environment," Engates said. "We wanted to find out what our customers were thinking about these issues, and whether we should continue to pay to pursue this strategy."

According to the survey, 75% of all respondents say they would choose a green vendor over a non-green vendor if the prices were the same. The survey found that 27% of the respondents say they would pay 5% premium to work with a green vendor, and 25% say they are willing to pay a 10% premium.

Environmental responsibility has been high on the Rackspace agenda for the past couple of years, and in June the company formally launched a company-wide program called GreenSpace aimed at promoting energy conservation, carbon offsets and employee education to reduce Rackspace's environmental footprint.

That has included joining the Green Grid, a consortium of technology companies seeking to improve the energy efficiency of data centers. The Green Grid has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency to create metrics to better measure the energy efficiency of data center equipment. In August, the EPA issued a report on server and data center energy consumption that warned that energy consumed in data centers will double in the next five years without operational efficiency improvements.

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