Is Green IT a passing fad? Deloitte CIO says NO

This is the last of my posts from notes I took during the Uptime Symposium last month. I've been stewing on this one the longest because the thoughts aren't from a high-tech vendor pushing green tech or from a person like me who just "believes," they are from a person who is in charge on a massive technology organization at a massive services company, Deloitte.

This is the last of my posts from notes I took during the Uptime Symposium last month. I've been stewing on this one the longest because the thoughts aren't from a high-tech vendor pushing green tech or from a person like me who just "believes," they are from a person who is in charge on a massive technology organization at a massive services company, Deloitte.

Larry Quinlan, who is the CIO for Deloitte, predicts that no one will be talking about green IT five years from now, it will simply be an accepted course of action for every successful IT organization. "The concepts of green IT are exactly the right concepts when it comes to cost cutting," he told symposium attendees. "Everything we do simply leads to a more efficient operation."

To get there, though, is another matter.

You won't find Quinlan passing the buck when it comes to taking responsibility for green IT policy, but you WILL find him delegating the most important tasks. In Quinlan's mind, right now, green IT IS absolutely an issue with which every CIO should be intimately familiar. At the same time, he doesn't buy current methods of calculating carbon footprints for IT infrastructure. Shocker: Deloitte hasn't actually measured its impact on the environment (at least not that it's willing to share publicly).

But that hasn't stopped it from taking action: No paralysis of analysis here.

Deloitte has 20 projects going on right now to address the energy-efficiency and environmental footprint of its IT infrastructure, spanning the data center to other practical equipment, such as printers and copiers.

Here are a couple of highlights. Deloitte has:

  • Virtualized 50 percent of its data center servers, eliminating 1,000 standalone servers
  • Migrated 25 percent of its server hardware to blads
  • Adopted a LEED certification track for its new back-up data center
  • Reduced the number of servers in its U.S. offices by 70 percent, by more than 600 servers
  • Launched a plan to support 100 percent of its employees. (That means installing 70 more videoconferencing systems for a total of around 115). Deloitte will cut its travel budget in half this year to relect this.
  • Replaced 569 printers, 119 fax machines and 65 copiers with 179 multifunction printers; part of a massive "managed printer" initiative. All printers have been set to print double-sided automatically. The company has saved 11,000 reams of paper since last June.
  • Invested heavily in telecommuting work arrangement (only one in four of its employees actually has a desk!)
  • Flipped on the power management features in all client computers and servers (where possible).