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I’ve been fishing around the IT community for a couple of months to understand the general attitude towards ‘green IT’. I received quite a mixed bag of results so I thought I’d share them with you.
Firstly some stats. I’ve spoken with 98 people, mostly from IT ops, specifically about the issue:
- Only 12 of these people were really looking at green IT issues in their organization
- But 87 of them were well aware of the problem
- Of the 86 people not looking at green IT, 72 said they were too busy on other projects right now
- But of those 72, 48 thought that they should be
- And of those 48, only 6 said they were going to push harder to get it on the agenda
So not really good news for the environmentalists and economists there then!
During those conversations, I talked about some of the innovations on this subject. A lot of the discussion concerned power consumption in data centers. It was generally accepted that virtualization technologies were the most credible way forward at the moment as more can be squeezed out of the same hardware and it can leverage off existing infrastructure. I should point out though that of the 98 people I chatted with, 79 of them had plans to, or had already implemented virtualization, but not for green reasons!
Maybe there is hope.
Several people mentioned teleworking as a potentially green solution. By allowing workers to avoid travel and to work from remote places then gas and air-travel can be significantly reduced. VPN and similar technologies have been around for years now but there seems to be a resurgence of interest in them with the current climate as a major driver. The emergence of Unified Communications Technology (UCT) will support teleworking as workers can be easily accessible wherever they are using whatever technology they prefer, or can use, at the time. If you haven’t looked at UCT then many of the big vendors (Avaya, Nortel, Mitel, Microsoft) are developing their solutions in this space, and it’s a stage further from Unified Messaging Technology. Take a look at this Wikipedia article on Unified Communication .
The other idea that cropped up at least three times was the use of alternative energy sources to power mobile computing. Can you power your laptop using a solar panel? There seemed to be a lot of interest but the general perception is that it is way too expensive. You can buy laptop cases with solar panels built into the side but consensus is that don’t really work too great. Maybe if we all powered our house on solar panel, we could recharge all the spare batteries we like! Take a look at the wacky project Jason at TechieNation has taken on – and it seems to work! Jason is one brave guy but could be a future pioneer.
The general feel I got is that to the general IT worker, green IT is still a fad. This is a real shame. People don’t believe in it enough right now. The ones who do are the vendors, and there is a nicely painted bandwagon they’re riding to capture the attention and imagination of IT execs.