The information technology (IT) industry is responsible for approximately 2 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, and data centers are the fastest growing part of that footprint, according to Pike Research. While energy efficiency has not traditionally been a major emphasis for IT organizations, the industry is now highly focused on implementing solutions that will reduce energy expenses and carbon emissions associated with data center operations. According to a new report from Boulder, Colo.-based Pike, the investment in greener data centers will experience rapid growth over the next five years, increasing from $7.5 billion in global revenue to $41.4 billion by 2015, representing 28 percent of the total data center market.

“Cost of energy has seldom been a concern for IT departments in the past,” said Eric Woods, industry analyst, “and there was little incentive to invest in energy-efficiency improvements. But as data center energy costs become more visible, the financial benefits of moving to a greener mode of operation are being recognized by CEOs, CFOs and CIOs.”

Woods said the green data center has evolved in response to concern over energy use, but it is also connected to the broader transformation that data centers are undergoing. This transformation encompasses technological innovation, operational improvement, new design principles, and changes to the relationship between IT and business. The data center of the future will be energy-efficient; it will also be virtualized to ensure optimal use of IT resources, space and energy, and it will be more dynamic in its operation, adaptable to new business needs and new technology opportunities.

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that power and cooling infrastructure solutions will be the largest portion of the green data center market opportunity, representing 46 percent of revenue over the next five years. Energy-efficient IT equipment will be the second largest category with 41 percent of the market, and monitoring and management will follow with 14 percent of total revenue.

The report, “Green Data Centers,” examines green data center trends and forecasts the size and growth of the market opportunity by region and technology through 2015. It analyzes new developments in power and cooling infrastructure; server, storage and network technology; and software management systems that are underpinning green data centers. The study also profiles the strategies of key players in terms of their market approach, technological innovations and internal efforts to create energy-efficient data centers. A free executive summary of the report is available at www.pikeresearch.com.