IT Gets Greener
By Sam Greengard
Over the last several years, green IT has evolved from a novelty into a core business component. Organizations are discovering that cutting energy costs and creating a more eco-friendly environment saves dollars and makes sense.
According to CDW's “2012Energy Efficient IT Report,” the field is advancing rapidly in terms of both adoption and level of sophistication. The study found that 43 percent of respondents now identify green initiatives as a top driver for data center consolidation—up from 34 percent two year ago. In fact, 32 percent of new data center purchasing is green. This is defined as systems that are energy efficient, water efficient, bio-based, and environmentally advantageous or non-ozone depleting.
More importantly, these green solutions are paying dividends. The report, based on a survey of 760 IT professionals, found that 75 percent of respondents with a program in place to manage data center power demands have trimmed IT energy costs.
Server virtualization and cloud computing are at the center of this trend. Sixty-two percent of respondents indicated that cloud computing offers an energy-efficient approach to data center consolidation—up from 47 percent in 2010.
"Like any other aspect of IT, energy efficiency in the data center is a multilayer stack of solutions working together, and all available solutions deserve consideration," said Norm Lillis, vice president of systems solutions at CDW. “The combination that makes the most sense will vary with the unique environment in a data center.”
Overall, the most common green solutions include: virtualized servers or storage (65 percent); server consolidation (60 percent); low-power/low-wattage processors (46 percent); Energy Star qualifying devices (44 percent); power-efficient networking equipment (31 percent); and energy-efficient/load-shedding uninterruptible power supplies (28 percent).
What’s the roadblock to further adoption? IT executives say they need better measurement tools to assess energy usage, as well as potential savings resulting from investments. Only 8 percent of respondents report that they find it easy to estimate or quantify energy use or savings based on manufacturers’ specs.
IT can play its part, Lillis says, by engaging in ongoing "conversations with upper management about energy efficiency and data center optimization strategies."