Study says recession should spur green IT initiatives

Green IT and other energy-saving projects with a hard ROI should be easier to push through in the recession, according to Datamonitor study.

The recession presents the best chance CIOs have had for a long time to push through change in the data centre, says a new report from analyst firm Datamonitor. Even green projects should meet less resistance.

For the report, Datamonitor interviewed 500 decision makers from global enterprises and medium-sized corporations. The report -- Can Green IT Bloom in an Economic Downturn? -- concludes that financial arguments for rationalisation, and the lack of software projects to complicate matters, have created the perfect climate for green IT implementation.

Green IT is entirely driven by cost savings.

Rhonda Ascierto,
senior analystDatamonitor

But that's only because green IT represents a cost savings, said report author Rhonda Ascierto, a senior analyst at Datamonitor. "It's not a corporate social responsibility gesture or a PR move; green IT is entirely driven by cost savings," she said.

In the 500 corporations surveyed, the unsurprising general consensus was that budgets have been frozen. Conversely, however, constrained IT budgets give data centres license to get a lot more done, argued Ascierto. "There is still a budget to be spent, and if you can buy hardware that cuts operational costs, then that sort of expenditure will continue. It's the software projects that are on hold and that should make life easier."

As data centre managers consolidate their servers through virtualisation, the lack of complications, such as supporting new software projects, should pave the way for additional virtualisation programmes.

"When we found our servers were crumbling under demand, we knew it would make sense to rationalise, through virtualisation. We're increasingly moving to a hosting model," said Jonathan Bruce, global head of IT at multinational law firm Rouse.

The squeeze of capital expenditure has created an upsurge in leasing. Again, the green issue has some influence on the leasing market. "Most countries have legislation for asset disposal, and that causes problems for companies that buy new equipment. It's a particular problem now that the head count has dropped in many IT departments. Companies are getting around that by leasing equipment, and letting their supplier deal with the problem," said Ascierto.

But it's not all smooth sailing. Green ROI models are becoming compulsory and shorter, with organisations demanding a return within the first 12 months, according to the report.

Companies such as Intel, Microsoft and Google can afford their own green data centres. But smaller enterprises are likely to outsource in order to meet a green agenda with fewer staff resources, Ascierto warned.

Nick Booth is a contributor to SearchVirtualDataCenter.co.uk.

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