Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do we need Green IT?

'The problem is that too many "green" technology claims are just a bunch of hot CO2', according to Matthew McKenzie on the Enterprise Efficiency blog. "Green" is a source of incredible marketing opportunities, and the chance to sell complex concepts and technology, wrapped up in easily accessible feel-good language. As Matthew goes on to say,

It all looks great on paper, but it leaves CIOs hanging when it comes to one vital question: How will it really affect the bottom line?

That sounds heartless, but it's true. The sooner we face up to it, the sooner we can do the right things for the right reasons.

The article goes on to dig at virtualization, a much touted savior of the world's climate from the evils of too many servers burning too much electricity. The same could be said of almost any business change that switches off a bunch of unused computer equipment. Hey, why not persuade people to turn off their PCs and monitors at night before they go home? Wouldn't an office full of dozens of powered down, rather than swimming fish screensaver PCs have a big impact at very little cost? I can enforce it - just hear the silence and picture the darkness when I throw that big Frankenstein style power breaker off at 6pm on the dot.

The trend to cloud computing, or at least more centralization of applications actually helps outside the server room as well, if there is a focus on the whole IT infrastructure. Why do I need a quad-core C02 producing desktop PC, when a simple, small, Atom-based nettop (low powered mini desktop PC) consumes less than half the power when running, and requires far less raw materials to manufacture. The power of the processor, size of hard-drive and lack of a never-used DVD drive is largely irrelevant, when most of the work in web-based and cloud apps is done centrally.

When you add this to the bottom-line argument that Matthew makes, it seems that IT has been throwing money at wasteful servers and desktops for too long, as Dell, IBM and others continue their speed and features "arms-race". Cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) solutions offer opportunities to companies to save money and energy not just in the server room, but across the whole IT infrastructure. Green IT does not have to go away quite yet, it just needs to be focused on where it makes the most difference.

A post from the Improving It blog

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Adam Deane said...

I agree that "Virtualization Green IT" is a marketing spin, but BPM provides real Green IT benefits by replacing paper with electronic forms.

Not only is a paperless organisation more eco-friendly, but it also benefits in increased organisational efficiency, increased business visibility.

UK uses 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard every year
U.S. businesses use around 21 million tons of paper every year
Every year, nearly 900,000,000 trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.

Unknown said...

www.openit.com See how companies profit through get green and lean IT resource-saving intiatives at www.openit.com