By Fran Lowe
We’ve been talking in a concerted way about Green IT for at least half of the last decade, and much longer if you were an early adopter of Green or a proponent of sustainable business. We’re all aware of IT industry giants like Google, IBM, GE and SAP who realized the immediate benefits of going Green by becoming more efficient in the way they operate.
Early adopters also realize that becoming more efficient - using less energy in their data centers or using recycled water in their cooling towers - is just the fringed edge of Green IT. Going green has given these early adopters and leaders a measurable business advantage as they’ve continued to leverage a sustainable mindset and Green IT to develop and sell green technology products and services to enterprises worldwide. Their success has been spurred on by their marketing efforts around Green, which in turn has built brand value for these companies and encouraged the adoption of Green technology by a growing number of customers. There are, of course, many "degrees" of being green or engaging in sustainable activities. In the world of data centers, for example, obtaining a large percentage of energy from renewable or "non-coal” resources is being seen as an important next step.
Next-generation IT that brings together big data, cloud, virtualization and software-centric networking is increasingly more energy efficient by its very nature. Scale drives efficiency whether we’re talking about using the cloud to reduce the net energy usage of business computing or the fast-growing wholesale data center industry that is delivering power and cooling efficiencies that save millions of dollars for large scale customers. Leaner, more flexible and resilient computing is another way of expressing Green IT.
The interconnectedness of these technology trends is driving the ever greater need for companies of all sizes to adopt technology frameworks that are interconnected and able to measure and track results. The IT sector is more aware than ever of the environmental and financial impact of increased power consumption, data center cooling issues and e-waste from IT operations. By adopting and integrating green and sustainable targets, they will be better able to manage the environmental impacts of their computing assets and facilities from the get-go.
When Green is finally just the smart way of operating and doing business, by which I mean doing business in a way that ensures an enterprise will be able to flourish and persist over the long-term, we will likely no longer be talking about Green IT.
I’ve no idea when that is - but hope it’s sooner than I think.