think energy

by Angela Miller
As an both an Information Technology professional and an environmental scientist, I have often found one side of myself having to compromise in order to satisfy the other. For years I’ve needed to ignore the growing energy demands of my different employers’ ever-expanding server rooms in order to bow to the needs of users to have applications and systems constantly in a state of readiness.

It occurred to me as I was working with my previous company Hitachi Data Systems on their RoHS/WEEE compliance initiatives that now may just be the time when IT departments can change the tide. Almost every major server and storage vendor has made a commitment this year to producing equipment that affords the opportunity to gain control of energy consumption in the data center. And most vendors are well on their way to producing equipment more friendly to the environment by at least complying with the interational RoHS/WEEE directives.

But is this enough?

With so much attention on personal environmental accountability today, I thought it would be interesting to focus on corporate environmental responsibility – especially on the concept of ‘green computing.’

Many of the big vendors began publicizing their theories on how their products can help companies green their IT departments. It is interesting that most of the discussion centers around energy efficiency – a concept that was born over 15 years ago through the EnergyStar program. While this program was successful with an individual appliance, it emphasized consumer electronics for the home more than corporate infrastructure. Seems this is about to change as vendors now tout their new alliances with the EnergyStar program and new initiatives to capture the attention of prospective customers through their environmental friendliness, and as the program considers requirements for their standards version 4.0.

But, again, is this enough? Energy efficiency is a great starting point, and RoHS/WEEE manufacturing compliance is a necessary goal … but for the average IT Manager, will simply procuring these items be enough to green their IT? And are IT departments truly concerned about becoming greener? The environmental scientist in me says no — there is more that can and should be done.

This blog will be to investigate the greening of Information Technology – and whether that is an attainable goal without substantial culture shift in corporations.

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