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Innovation

Forrester: There's really no such thing as "green IT"

News flash. In a recent report called "Is Green IT Your Emperor With No Clothes?
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

News flash. In a recent report called "Is Green IT Your Emperor With No Clothes?," market research house Forrester is advising IT managers to forget about the notion that there's any such thing as TRULY green technology. Yes, folks, it's part of that green tech backlash that we've all been expecting.

What with toxic chemicals AND ecologically taxing manufacturing processes AND onerous disposal requirements AND huge energy requirements, technology is just inherently flawed when it comes to green-ness.

Well, no kidding. BUT, Forrester says, technology CAN aid businesses in setting forth strategies that can help reduce overall energy consumption and, by association, overall operating expenses. Plus, this is the sort of thing that's more likely to get your boss's attention rather than a green proclamation. No matter how much I believe in the green cause myself, I know that the world at large is much more cynical about green tech.

But, you too can work toward reduced energy consumption even if you don't like what "green" implies. Here's the simplest way to get started: Reverse the IT department's traditional lack of visibility into power consumption. Only 11 percent of IT departments include electricity costs in their annual budgeting process, according to Forrester, and this will not do.

IT departments should work now to establish baseline benchmarks for energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and related operational costs. That means your regular inventory of IT assets should include not just the types of systems you have (inside and outside the data center) but also what sort of power draw they require and what sort of cooling and backup power equipment is needed to keep them running efficiently.

Forrester has created an online calculator to help companies keep track of this (it's included in the report, which you have to buy unless you're a corporate research client). It looks at factors such as energy draw per assets, annual uptime per asset and so on. This data is used to calculate your power usage effectiveness ratio and infrastructure efficiency ratio. Even if you can't really buy technology that is green, you can use these measures to procure and manage the most energy-efficient systems possible.

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