Green outsourced datacentres run by hosting companies may represent an escape route to datacentres facing slow strangulation from rising energy costs, looming energy supply limitations and space running out. That is the cumulative sense of several reports from research houses IDC and Gartner.

Gartner on energy and floor space constraints

Gartner analysts believe datacentres are heading towards a sticking point between a rock, energy costs, and a hard place, floor space constraints. According to them, by 2011, more than 70 percent of US enterprise datacentres will face tangible disruptions related to energy consumption, floor space, and/or costs.

Also, during the next five years, most US enterprise datacentres will spend as much on energy (power and cooling) as they will on hardware infrastructure.

Gartner research VP Rakesh Kumer, bangs his fist on CIO's office doors, saying: "CIOs of large US organisations must prepare for a period of rapid changes in their datacentres. This disruption will be accompanied by a significant increase in capital and operational expenditures. Failure to respond quickly and appropriately to the changing market conditions and technologies will result in needlessly high energy bills, expensive service contracts and delays in implementing new technologies.”

Its not just the US that's going to be affected. Gartner estimates that more than 70 percent of the world’s Global 1000 organisations will have to modify their datacentre facilities significantly during the next five years. The United States has the biggest concentration of large (greater than 50,000 square feet) datacentres, the majority of which were built more than seven years ago.

Here comes the power crunch from Kumar: “These legacy datacentres typically were built to a design specification of about 100 to 150 watts per square foot. Current design needs are about 300 to 400 watts per square foot, and by 2011, this could rise to more than 600 watts per square foot. The implication is that most current datacentres will be unable to host the next generation of high-density equipment, so CIOs will have to refurbish their established sites, build new ones or look for alternatives, such as using a hosting provider.”