Feeds

IT shouldn't cop all the blame for wrecking environment

Green IT use by businesses matters too

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Quocirca's changing channels The IT industry is in danger of becoming an unnecessary apologist for environmental woes caused by the equipment it sells. While there is certainly room for improvement in the way IT procurement and infrastructure is managed, this must not be overshadowed by the more positive aspects that good use of IT can make to the overall greening of businesses. However, manufacturers and resellers of IT products and services need to get better at putting this message across.

A lot of the bad press focuses on data centres and, indeed, these should be the starting point for any initiative to green the use of IT by businesses. The way in which the buildings, energy supply, cooling equipment, hardware and software associated with data centres can be adapted to improve energy efficiency are well recorded. But a point that is often missed is that these carbon economies can all be made because the data centre is a well structured and manageable environment.

For many businesses the majority of energy consumed by IT will not be in the data centres, but in the numerous business locations it is there to serve. The office remains IT’s wild frontier, a jumble of PC, printers, monitors, branch servers, telephones and numerous other devices all in an uncontrolled environment. Moving more of this kit into the data centres and reducing the “office-IT factor” will give business more control over the energy consumed by IT.

Of course a lot of kit needs to stay near the point of use, such as monitors, printers and telephones. Here standards and remote management can help. But moving branch servers into data centres, introducing thin-client computing where practical and serving remote users with web-enabled applications all have a part to play in reducing the “office-IT factor”. This is not just about the physical relocation of kit but also about the transfer of processing power out of the office and the reduction of network traffic by keeping the heavy lifting between “clients” and “servers” with the data centre.

Some might point to a potential downside in that data centres can become a single point of failure for applications that were once widely distributed. But this can be mitigated through good management and failover facilities. Meanwhile, businesses are better able to account for IT energy consumption that enables them to substantiate associated environmental claims.

And this is where the IT industry needs to get its message across better. Many IT applications can drive reductions in energy usage elsewhere in the business, for instance, reducing transport requirements and better buildings management. If it can be shown that executives are flying fewer miles, that employees’ car mileage claims are reducing, that supply chains really are more efficient and the buildings are cooled and heated more effectively though the use of IT, then genuine claims can be made that this is helping to reduce the total carbon footprint of a business.

Most people do not want to see economic progress put into reverse, but at the same time most accept changes need to be made to many human activities to reduce their environment impact and allow prosperity to be maintained for the long term. Rather than being a negative factor in all this – perhaps more than any other activity that is berated for its energy consumption – IT has a positive role to play.

Quocirca’s report “In Defence of the Data Centre” is free to Reg readers here.

Copyright © 2007,

Bob Tarzey is a service director at Quocirca focused on the route to market for IT products and services in Europe. Quocirca (www.quocirca.com) is a UK based perceptional research and analysis firm with expertise in the European and global IT markets.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.