Does it matter what sort of electricity powers your data center?

An announcement from self-avowed managed service and cloud hosting provider Datapipe, based in Jersey City, N.J.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

An announcement from self-avowed managed service and cloud hosting provider Datapipe, based in Jersey City, N.J., caught my eye this morning, mainly because of the rather bold claim that the company is making: It now uses renewable energy sources for all of its data centers based in the United States.

That strategy has helped Datapipe become one of select number of IT companies nationwide that are part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Leadership Club. That designation is used to recognize companies that have gone above and beyond certain levels in terms of their renewable energy purchases.

For example, if your organization uses between 1 million and 10 million kilowatt-hours power annually, then you must purchases 100 percent of your power needs from green or renewable sources to be named to the leadership club. In the case of Datapipe, the organization makes green power purchase equivalents (that's the operative word here) of approximately 56 million kilowatt hours annually. The company also touts its energy efficiency practices. For example, it uses ultrasonic humidifiers, which it says use up to 90 percent less electricity than traditional humidifiers.

So, as I poked through the Leadership Club list, I noticed a common thread: Many of the other IT industry players that have been named to that distinct are either hosting providers or managed service providers. Which made me wonder: are green or renewable power considerations becoming a large part of the evaluation criteria that companies use to pick a hosting provider? If not, they really should be. Here are some of the other companies that show up with Datapipe on the list:

Have you heard of any of these players?

Based on my quick read of some of these web sites, it is clear that a lot of the "green power" that these companies are purchasing is in the form of renewable energy certificates. The fact is they are trying, which provides a point of unique differentiation in a market crammed full of managed service providers. The question is, does this matter to your organization? As you look to outside organizations to handle your data center needs, is the energy sourcing for those data centers a consideration? In my opinion it should be, but what do you have to say?

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