Balancing the growing IT needs of enterprise with the environmental need to reduce carbon emissions is going to be difficult.
Preserving high levels of system availability and redundancy, coupled with the rising number of datacentres, seems directly at odds with being energy efficient.
Businesses may associate risk with a green strategy because they will need to change their IT set-ups. However, there is an equal risk in maintaining bad system design, which wastes energy and can add to the total cost of ownership.
Blade servers, for example, may offer more processing power per square foot and save space in datacentres. But you have to account for the additional power costs of keeping them cool. Going green could help cut such costs.
Improvements can be made elsewhere too. Optimising the way power is transmitted through a datacentre means investigating components such as cabling, cooling, UPSs and even processors, to see where efficiencies can be achieved.
Simplifying complex set-ups to use power more efficiently could increase resilience and reliability at an operational level, while also reaping corporate benefits. Investors, insurers, and policy-makers are now taking a serious interest in energy use and the environment.
Just as harmonising different IT components can reduce overall energy consumption, the success of green policies will require a consensus between the government, IT suppliers and end-users.
Judging from the opinions expressed at this year's Datacentre Dynamics conference and the launch of the Green Grid consortium the willingness is there. The acid test is whether consumption drops despite IT's hunger for more power.
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This was first published in March 2007