Pragmatic Shades of Green IT

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Do IT People Really Care About Green IT?

Study finds that IT organizations still consider power consumption secondary to performance.

With the arrival of Earth Day today there is sure to be a lot of heartfelt sentiment about the importance of saving the planet, which is a cause that the IT vendor community has generally embraced these last few years.

Much like the auto industry, the IT vendor community sees the green IT movement as a vehicle for promoting the sale of more energy-efficient systems to replace the legacy IT infrastructure that is still widely used by customers.

The question is whether those customers really see energy efficiency as being a primary purchasing requirement, or whether it's simply a matter of, all things being equal, energy efficiency being a good thing to have?

A recent survey of 200 IT managers responsible for x86 servers that was conducted by the Gabriel Consulting Group strongly suggests it's the latter. According to Dan Olds, principal of Gabriel Consulting Group, as long as Green IT issues don't materially impact performance, IT organizations are happy to have more energy-efficient systems. But that's a very long way of saying that Green IT is a primary factor when it comes to selecting what systems to purchase, he notes.

In fact, the survey that Gabriel conducted clearly shows that when it comes to Green IT, no one vendor is seen to be doing a particularly better job than the other. At the end of the day, Olds says IT organizations prefer to take a pragmatic approach to Green IT. They appreciate the fact that because of density issues they need more energy-efficient systems that are less expensive to run. And in many sectors of the country, a new server can pay for itself based on the amount of energy it saves. But as for carbon emissions, Olds notes, that is still very much a secondary consideration.

That may be disappointing to a lot of Green IT advocates, but when it comes right down to it, the shade of green that IT organizations are thinking about these days has a lot more to do with the color of money than it does the environment.

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