Your shout: Green datacentres, Wi-Fi dangers, project planning

Computer Weekly readers' have their say

Computer Weekly readers' have their say

IBM should not need to 'steer' users to green IT

David Jones

I read with interest the article entitled "IBM offers metrics to steer users towards greener IT".

It is encouraging that datacentres will now be able to ascertain the efficiency of their systems, a first step of hopefully many that will lead to decreased energy usage in datacentres.

However, the worrying fact is that, according to Forrester's research, only 25% of companies that say environmental factors are important to them are actually taking this into account in their purchasing decisions.

Businesses need to go beyond good intentions and put these plans into action - companies like IBM should not have to "steer" them into doing this.

Perhaps the problem is that going green seems an insurmountable task. The key is to go back to basics. A great deal of difference can be made simply by cutting down on the amount of data stored in an IT system.

So many companies have overloaded storage systems by storing duplicates of the same file. This means energy is being used to store and back-up all these unnecessary files.

By just de-duplicating files, a company can save up to 40% of its storage costs and be more energy efficient at the same time.

Green IT is a hot topic and every business will have a slightly different way of tackling it. However, every business with an IT system has data to store, and managing this data effectively is an important place to start.

Any danger from Wi-Fi networks? I don't think so

Chris Miller

I was sorry to see the dangers of Wi-Fi being propounded in a serious journal.

I no longer expect the staff of the BBC (who started this hare running) to be able to muster a pass in GCSE science between them, but I would hope for more from the newspaper of record for the British computer industry.

To summarise:

● The Wi-Fi scare is generated by an analogy with that of mobile phones - which has unfortunately been given a degree of respectability by the government exercising the "precautionary principle" and recommending that mobile phone masts should not be sited close to schools.

● Although somewhat similar frequencies are used, the power levels used by Wi-Fi are at least 10 times lower than those for mobile phone handsets (and nearly 1,000 times lower than those for masts).

● The inverse square law dictates that the greatest effect on the human body will be from mobile phones held close to the ear.

● There is no plausible mechanism that could account for any ill-health effects of electromagnetic radiation from phones, and no significant evidence that it exists. There are, on the other hand, billions of people using mobile phones every day with no ill effects.

● If, despite this, we would still like to minimise the exposure of our children to this "invisible killer", the best way to do so (short of a ban on the technology) would be to site mobile phone masts close to schools so that the handsets will automatically operate at lower power settings.

In a remarkable coincidence, the "expert" who assisted the naïve BBC reporter in uncovering this story owns a business that sells detectors and even anti-radiation paint to counteract this non-existent threat.

Lack of coherent planning is reason IT projects fail

Steve Gedney

It was depressing to read yet another article regarding the seemingly doomed NHS National Programme for IT.

Like most failed IT projects, whether public or private sector, large or small, the NPfIT has failed primarily because of a lack of coherent planning prior to the implementation process.

In order to be successful, IT projects must have in place clearly defined processes and objectives from the start, otherwise the result is always confusion, delays, budget overruns and, ultimately, failure.

IT is sadly an area of business where this rather astonishing rate of failure is accepted when it really need not be. However, the fact is that most of the problems we read about are very easily rectified.

With the right tools and good project management, IT projects such as the now infamous NHS scheme could and should become a value-add asset for any organisation.

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