The Impact of Recession on Green IT


The recession seems to have a grip on everything we do. Before going into a major downturn Green IT was an emerging activity. There is no doubt that the environmental predictions have been forces that drive this activity, however the forcing function for most companies has been regulation, especially in Europe. For IT architects, these are interesting times, with so many new technologies and concepts such as Cloud, Green, Virtualization, etc. the choices seem endless.

After reading a few publications in my spare time, I started to wonder how much the recession really has effected Green IT. I have waited to comment on this because there seems to be conflicting reports. On one hand there is talk about how Green IT will be the next big IT wave while other reports state that it will have a minimal impact.

What tipped the scales for me was the Gartner article entitled “The Impact of Recession on Green IT”  released late last month and it was very interesting to see the analysis. This article was a survey of Gartner customers that wanted to get to the heart of the matter to figure out where Green falls into their project planning. Surprisingly, customers are not planning as much Green activities as once thought. There were some great data points in the article. If you have a subscription it definitely worth it to take a look.

While I can see limiting project spend I can’t see why not to do these activities even if it was for saving money in operations. As far as Green goes, I would of thought with the recession would encourage organizations to optimize and consolidate. At a minimum there are some Green-ish types of projects that will help organizations lower power consumption, cooling control, operational support costs, licensing, complexity, etc.

I think there is a great deal of value in kicking off these Green IT  projects. I was involved in operations optimization activities a few years ago. There is a lot of money to be saved if your data centers have not been optimized.

Below are some practical projects to control costs and becoming more green:

  • Consolidation Strategy – Building a strategy to consolidate both applications and hardware to control the amount of unnecessary redundancies.
  • Meter Systems – Understanding the over utilization (CPU), consumption or power and carbon footprint of a system can help derive patterns in how the solutions work. By doing so it may lead to consolidation, scheduling of services for a shared services environment or an application optimization project.
  • Technology Life Cycles – I talk about this a bit from an EA perspective. Technology life cycles will provide you with a way to consistently review solutions to classify them. There are many classifications that can be used but for the sake of the topic maybe we would want to put levels of Green compliance on solutions. Technology Life Cycles not only classify these solutions but also provides a way to govern or retire solutions that do not make sense any longer.
  • Over Engineering the Data Center – Sometimes us architects have a tendency to over engineer things a bit. Obviously this isn’t very costly or green. A common over engineering mistake is temperature control. Making the data center cooler than it needs to be is a big power hog. There are little things like this example that can help.

Every little bit helps. It comes back to understanding your environment, that is where understanding your consolidation strategy and metering comes in.

See my other posts on Green for more information.

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0 thoughts on “The Impact of Recession on Green IT”

  1. Hi Mike – I like your views on becoming more “green.” I can tell you in my search for Green topics, for a hot topic, there aren’t many people talking about it. Most likely because, like you, they are waiting for the conflicting reports to sway one way or another. Good to hear your thoughs on the topic.
    Would you be interested in some free exposure in our newsletter? I’d like to republish this in our monthly Unlocked newsletter.
    Please let me know.
    BTW, I found you through Jim Parnitzke, he is on-board with our Unlocked project.


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