Jack Vaughan reports in SearchSOA that "green" was the color du jour at the recent SOA Consortium confab in Washington.
IBM's Sandy Carter pointed out that economic conditions are causing businesses to take a harder look at the efficiencies of their processes. A byproduct of that scrutiny will be greater energy savings in IT and other parts of companies, she said. Dave Linthicum also agreed that SOA and cloud computing will deliver more efficient, and thus, greener processes. However, he added, bear in mind that green is a byproduct of process automation or improvement, not the reason for adopting new approaches. As Dave put it: "For many, the big selling point for cloud computing is green computing. That silliness is going to stop."
I'm all for green, and have been active in environmental causes. And it makes a lot of economic sense to manage power consumption. But as we endeavor to make IT "greener," let me add that we should also weigh the benefits IT has already brought -- and continues to bring -- to the planet. This is something nobody has fully measured -- at least that I know of. For example, how many trees have been saved due to paperless processing, EDI, and online communication? How much oil and energy has been saved because of telecommuting and teleconferencing? How many stores and shopping malls have not been built due to the rise of e-commerce?
Then there are the economic benefits IT has brought. For example, people no longer need to be uprooted from their communities to attend good schools and universities, or, in many cases, relocate for jobs.
As we go about addressing IT energy consumption -- and it's great to see that SOA can play a leading role here -- I'd love to see more studies on how many resources have actually been saved, and gained, as the physical world has been displaced by the digital/virtual world. I'll bet it far outweighs the energy computers have consumed.