Taking green IT beyond the data centre

The ‘greening’ of IT began in the data centre, with a focus on server consolidation and cooling, but is now spreading to all levels of the IT infrastructure.

Finding the right balance

"Our customers have seen that better management of the IT infrastructure can bring both cost savings and environmental benefits," he said. "To reap true cost-savings, IT executives must look to implement software management technology that enables better measurement and performance of the IT infrastructure."

The majority of companies CA surveyed were currently using software systems for network, database, systems performance, configuration and asset management. But more US companies had taken on software to improve the efficiency of their data centres overall than in the UK.

Approximately 60 per cent of those polled in the US had applied software in their data centres or to servers to help manage energy efficiency and more than half managed efficiency by applying management software to their mainframes.

And US firms were also more likely than their UK counterparts to currently be using network management software and virtual machine software.

Putting your money where your mouth is

The transatlantic survey also measured the contribution of green IT initiatives and found virtual machine software, application performance management and database management were the software areas UK firms reported as above average for budget and for current contribution.

But even CA's research found that UK organisations are limiting the scope of their green efforts, as virtual machine software was the only area that UK IT executives considered to be above average for budget and provide above average satisfaction ratings with their current software's contribution to green initiatives.

It seems as though that some areas like videoconferencing and remote working slip under the radar. Ian Osborne, director of the Grid Computing Now! initiative run by IT trade body Intellect, told IT PRO organisations should also be looking to cloud computing as an enabler of many future green IT deployments.

"On the green side, you have the likes of Google, Amazon and Microsoft that are working to obtain carbon neutral IT infrastructures," he said. "And it may well be that the carbon footprint of the most energy hungry IT infrastructures are chock full of non-efficient legacy and data centre kit. But, where servers can make up 40 per cent of an IT organisation's electricity bill, you might as well as look at using the cloud."

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is one of the many vendors investing in the cloud for its green capabilities. Tony Reid, HDS UK services director, added: "There's a huge amount of hype around cloud at the moment, with a lot of vendors claiming to be doing things in the cloud'. But from my perspective, it offers the opportunity to flex IT infrastructures more dynamically to meet business demands it's because of demand that IT organisations have to look at energy as well as cost."

Between the data centre and desktop, it seems as though for every power-hungry element in an average IT infrastructure, there's now a green IT solution in development out there. The only factor is how motivated you're organisation is to get out there and find them.

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