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
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
"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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