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Huge savings on the way with eco-friendly approach to IT

Huge savings on the way with eco-friendly approach to IT

Big-name players are locked in a fight over who can produce the most energy efficient blade server.

The community obsession with all things green has had many effects. They include a rethinking of the trend towards ever-slimmer servers,

known as blade servers, so information technology managers can pack in

more computer power per square metre.

Blades may have saved on precious real estate but they brought with

them all the pitfalls of high-density computing. In particular,

concerns about power consumption and heat generation.

However, big-name players such as IBM, Dell, Sun and Hewlett-Packard

are putting paid to those worries thanks to an intense fight over who

can produce the most energy efficient blade server.

Vendors now boast about equipment that can reduce power and cooling

costs by as much as 50 per cent using blade technology, although

market researcher Gartner still expects it will take until 2012 before

the new breed of server is in widespread use.

Developments that are likely to spur the further adoption of blades

include cloud computing, where the modularity of the systems is better

suited to the up and down-scaling needs of cloud applications. But

interoperability remains a concern.

The hype around green IT products also can affect more broadly the

adoption of supposedly more efficient technology, says KPMG's

information technology advisory director, Bob Hayward. But he adds

that corporate scepticism is fading fast.

"There was an awful lot of cynicism. You had IT executives who had

been running IT for however long and they've never had to pay that

much attention to energy consumption," he says. "Then suddenly, out of

the blue, a bunch of analysts and conferences and journalists say

green IT's the new thing, everybody starts knocking on the door saying

they have a beaut new green thing and the defence mechanisms come into

play."

Hayward says one emerging problem for IT departments is there is often

not enough co-ordination between executives in charge of greening a

business and the managers who must implement processes and

technologies to achieve eco-friendly targets.

"There are an awful lot of environmental consultants and environmental

managers who really know next to nothing about IT making some quite

significant decisions about things like setting carbon targets,

without having had a real appreciation for the dilemma that IT faces

to achieve those goals," he says.

"There are not enough conversations happening between some of the new

environmental managers and the IT people."

Technology industry executives also argue sustainability is an issue

that's not going to go away even as the world is distracted by the

worst economic downturn in decades. Cisco Australia and New Zealand

boss Les Williamson says that, pleasingly, most customers are still

concerned about sustainability despite myriad other pressures on IT

departments brought on by the crisis.

Williamson says environmental considerations are still among the top

few concerns of technology managers to whom he speaks.

Proponents of green systems say there are now opportunities to marry

sustainability even more closely to the cost-saving benefits of more

eco-friendly technologies..

"We're talking here about reducing emissions. The way you do that is

you reduce your energy consumption and when you reduce your energy

consumption you reduce your bills," Hayward says.

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