Business Hardware

Profits, Not Conscience, Drive Green Efforts

Business requirements, not corporate social responsibility goals, are driving Green IT developments in the U.K. according to new research.

Organizations with a green IT agenda state that reducing energy consumption (53%) and extending the life cycle of their IT assets (41%) are the most important desired effect of their green IT practices, according to a survey carried out by Forrester among more than 100 delegates at the Computerworld UK sponsored Green IT 08 Conference .

While strategic drivers for green IT lagged behind, the more pragmatic, cost-saving agenda, Forrester said "strategic motivations are likely to carry more clout into the future."

The reported noted "a healthy 34% of respondents are pursuing green IT to 'stay ahead of forthcoming regulations'," for example.

Other factors, such as meeting customer, supplier and employee expectations, and reaching corporate sustainability goals will also become more significant, the analyst group suggested.

Green IT initiatives are currently focussed on the data center and desktop infrastructure, the survey showed, with 50% of respondents already implementing a green data center strategy and another 40% exploring the practice.

"The data center is often a first target on the green IT hit list since it is a tightly controlled environment, managed solely by IT -- unlike the distributed desktop arena (which is) strongly influenced by non-IT end users," said Forrester.

Server virtualization, storage consolidation, and green procurement were the main initiatives among delegates to the Green IT 08, organized by Tech Touchstone, the research also highlighted the drive for energy audits with 72% carrying out energy audits and 66% pursuing centralized power management.

Forrester urged IT organizations to pursue data center efficiencies alongside moves to control desktop power consumption.

"The data center often receives much of the green IT spotlight and current project work, (but) significant environmental and financial value is being left on the table by overlooking the desktop environment. In fact, desktops and related peripherals may consume 40% to 50% of IT's total energy draw," it noted.

The analyst also highlighted growing interest in thin clients, which it said are at least 25% more energy-efficient than their "thicker" PC peers.

"Beyond energy savings, thin-client architectures offer a host of benefits, from improved management, security, and compliance, to enhanced disaster recovery and 'anytime, anywhere' access," the report said.

Forrester also urged It departments to drive green initiatives beyond the IT infrastructure altogether. "IT infrastructure investments -- such as video conferencing to reduce travel, or enabling double-sided printing to reduce paper waste -- can enable a culture of sustainable business behavior.

"While the benefits of these initiatives will not reduce IT's electricity consumption or extend the life cycle of IT assets, they can have significant environmental and business value across the organization as a whole," it noted.

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