How much electricity does it take?

A traditional rack of servers typically required about two kilowatts of power to operate but this figure jumps 10 times for a rack of blade servers.

The problem is only made worse by running multiple racks of blades.

With many organisations opting to use virtualisation to maximise their use of server capacity, power consumption in individual racks is climbing as high as 24 kilowatts – the same energy consumption as 600 standard 40 watt light bulbs, 12 toasters or 10 electric ovens.

Add to this the cooling which uses almost as much energy again to control rack temperatures and prevent machines from shutting down and you have a real energy crisis.

If you have any doubts about how serious this is getting, then take a look at Google, arguably the world’s biggest data centre operator.

They have identified access to electrical power as their biggest IT risk and recently invested $2.5billion in putting their data centres close to sustainable energy sources.