Eco-IT

IT is seeing the beginnings of a perfect storm that will be felt by every major user of IT. Organizations are likely to be required to reduce their use of power, carbon emissions and the like at the same time they're increasing needs for computing.

I've been enjoying the opportunity to listen to the dry runs of analyst presentations for the upcoming 451 Group customer conference. I've learned something of interest in each of the sessions. Andy Lawrence, Research Director of the ECO-IT practice, helped me to become more aware of the role power and carbon emissions are likely to have on IT in the coming years.

It's as if IT is seeing the beginnings of a perfect storm that will be felt by every major user of IT. Although this isn't a comprehensive list, the following are each pushing organizations to reconsider their current strategies.

  • Economics - the drive to cut costs at nearly any cost is pushing organizations to consider how to redcuce the costs of power and cooling.  A side effect could be a reduction of carbon emissions.
  • Compliance - governmental bodies are seeking ways to reduce the impact of greenhouse gasses. Organizations may shortly face the requirement to reduce both power consumption and heat production.
  • Growing reliance on IT - more and more processes require the support of IT-based systems. This causes organizations to face a delima. How can the costs for hardware and software, staffing, power and cooling costs be reduced while the use of IT increases?

It is clear that the appropriate use of virtualization, all forms of virtualization not just virtual machine (hypervisor) technology, will help organizations cope.

  • Workloads can be moved from a herd of desktop systems back into the datacenter using desktop or user virtualization. The challenge here is that power consumption is just being centralized not necessarily reduced.
  • Workloads can be consolidated and a smaller number of systems can be used. This can lower the hardware costs, but might increase software and staffing (read administrative) costs
  • Workloads can be migrated from older systems to newer, more efficient, systems. While this might reduce space requirements and power consumption, it is likely to require increases in the short-term hardware acquistion budget.

What is your organization doing to address these issues?

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