Rackspace Hosting, a leading hosting services provider, began taking a more proactive role in environmental responsibility by launching the Greenspace®
Initiative in 2007, which promotes energy conservation through customer offerings, company conservation and employee education on green living. Since that time, Rackspace has focused on providing their customers with offerings that include the most energy efficient products available, the ability to offset carbon emissions and greener services, such as virtualization and cloud hosting. Rackspace has also initiated company wide conservation projects, including construction of a data center powered by renewable energy, implementation of conservation construction practices for its new headquarter facility and hosting a fair geared toward educating employees on environmental issues.
Rackspace believes that environmental responsibility is still a growing concern for hosting customers, but that customers may not be willing to be exposed to higher costs to address them; this according to the second annual “Green” survey conducted by the company, which was created by Rackspace to gain insight into the trends and environmental issues affecting its customers.
According to this most recent green survey, only 41 percent of respondents are willing to pay more for green products and services this year; down significantly from the 52 percent of respondents that were willing to pay more last year. Also this year, only 28 percent are willing to trade server performance for lower carbon emissions. One significant increase in responses this year showed that 69 percent of respondents are still concerned and either looking for ways to reduce the impact their company has on the environment or actively addressing the issue; this up seven percent from last year.
“It’s interesting to see that customers still think green is very important, but today they may be less willing to pay more or trade performance for lower carbon emissions. Rackspace understands these concerns, and the economic pressure points, and is working diligently to leverage the available technology in ways that don’t impose additional costs on the customer,” said John Engates, CTO, Rackspace Hosting. “Since launching Greenspace last year, we have rolled out a number of energy efficient and environmentally sound products and initiatives and continue to look for new ways to be environmentally conscious.”
Since the launch of Greenspace, Rackspace introduced its Green Server Configurations with Dell’s PowerEdge™ 2970 servers and AMD’s Quad-Core Opteron™ processor, their most energy efficient servers and processors available on the market today. Another product choice is Rackspace’s dedicated virtualization offering built on VMWare’s third-generation software suite, which allows customers to save energy by consolidating physical servers. Also, Mosso®, Rackspace’s popular cloud computing offering, includes a cloud platform and storage offering which allows customers to only pay for server capacity they are using without wasting idle energy and space.
Environmentally-responsible solutions from Rackspace IT partners are key to Greenspace’s success. Dell, one of Rackspace’s biggest partners, recently worked with the company to develop Dell’s Server Multipack solution, an operational and energy-efficient option for customers ordering PowerEdge™ servers to better fit Rackspace's needs. The Dell Multipack helps reduce excess packaging on-site, lowers ecological impact, minimizes costs of associated material and disposal cost as well as reduces required storage space. This is estimated to cut the amount of cardboard used by 35 percent, polyethylene foam by 74 percent and results in the complete elimination of wood pallets in the shipment and deployment of these servers.
“Managing data centers and servers which are known to be significant energy consumers and carbon emitters, puts Rackspace in a difficult position. But they are doing an outstanding job addressing the issues head-on and encouraging their vendors to help by creating more energy efficient products like Dell’s 2970 and AMD’s Quad-Core,” said Harper Reed, CTO, skinnyCorp, Inc. “Rackspace is one of the only hosting providers that I’ve seen make green hosting a priority. They make it easy for me to do my part.”
Internally, Rackspace continues to work towards energy conservation and sustainability. Over the past year, Rackspace has built its first green data center, which is fueled by renewable energy, in Slough, England. Just last week, the first customer servers went online at the new data center. The data center is now powered by wood chips, waste paper and fiber fuel to generate electricity, hot water and steam.
In the company’s new corporate headquarters, which has completed phase one of development, Rackspace is undergoing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification with the U.S. Green Building Council, which oversees sustainable building practices. This recycled mall will feature key LEED certification components including reused materials, the absence of Styrofoam cups, individual recycle bins, targeted climate control per employee, motion sensitive lighting, water conservation and more.
On June 17, Rackspace held its second annual employee Green Day aimed at educating employees about environmental programs around the community and what they can personally do to live a greener life. The company wide fair included over 25 local vendors and consisted of demonstrations in recycling and mulching, test drives of hybrid cars and Vespas, information on solar power and windtricity, and a full Farmer’s Market.
The methodology for Rackspace’s survey research involved sending an email survey to approximately 3,000 U.S.-based Rackspace customers. Approximately six percent of survey recipients responded to the questions. Detailed information and the full survey report can be found at http://www.rackspace.com/downloads/surveys/GreenSurvey2008.pdf. The full 2007 survey report can be found at http://www.rackspace.com/downloads/surveys/GreenSurvey2007.pdf.
For more information on Rackspace’s Greenspace initiative, please visit http://www.rackspace.com/information/events/green.php.