IT consultants jump on the green bandwagon

Advice on how to be environmentally friendly abounds

IT research organisations have started weighing in with advice for CIOs, including podcasts, market research and weighty practical guides to cutting datacentre power costs and emissions.

Recent green IT advice includes a free podcast from the Burton Group, market research from Forrester and, most imposingly, a 136-page paid-for report from BroadGroup.

The Being Green Has Become a Competitive Edge podcast is distributed by the Burton Group under its Inflexion Point banner. A research director, Drue Reeves, and analyst Andrew Kutz describe how datacentre power and cooling efficiency can be increased. Reeves talks about how a CIO might approach the issue in general; having the datacentre electricity bill added to his budget, for example.

Kurtz describes ten short- and long-term things CIOs could change in the datacentre, ranging from turning on CPU stepping to relocating a datacentre to a cooler climate. The sound quality is not great but it only lasts 11 minutes.

The Forrester document, Tapping Buyers’ Growing Interest In Green IT, states: “Forrester’s initial survey of IT sourcing and operations professionals reveals that most are unaware of vendors’ efforts to design and market more environmentally responsible products and services. Many are aware, however, of IT’s rising energy consumption and are interested in improving the energy efficiency of their datacentres and other computing infrastructure.

Tech suppliers will find a receptive audience for more vocal green evangelism, especially as they tune their messages to resonate with a range of attitudes among their enterprise customers.”

At the recent Forrester IT Forum in Edinburgh, Forrester senior analyst Euan Davis admitted there is more talk than action around green IT at the moment but warned it will become an increasingly important issue organisations need to plan for.

He said: “It’s an issue that is here to stay. I think there will be a carbon tax. If that happens firms will be looking at ways to cut emissions and make their business as carbon neutral as possible.”

The 15-page report costs US$279 (NZ$371) from Forrester’s website.

The BroadGroup’s The Evolution of Green Datacentres: a practical guide is a weightier affair altogether.

It describes the characteristics of green datacentres and the potential advantages to companies adopting them. The report assesses inefficiencies in the datacentre (“an average datacentre is using around 50 times more energy than an office block”), server proliferation and rising datacentre density.

It reckons that 2010 is looking to be the time at which IT power and cooling costs will overtake IT hardware expenditures.

The report looks at the practical implementation of green datacentres and advises readers on the processes they must follow in formulating green strategies. It includes an outline list of recommendations for datacentres to follow.

To help CIOs and IT managers choose cleaner power, the report also documents the range of power resources available.

The report implies in its own words that it may be premature, stating: “It is almost certain that over the next 12-24 months a range of datacentre-related environmental standards and laws will be released in most developed countries.” The implication is, of course, that IT managers should start looking at the issue now.

The BroadGroup asserts that overall, the report neatly brings together a global overview of the evolution of green datacentres and the many issues involved in the current debate.

It offers, the group states, a methodical review and recommendations of steps for datacentre managers to take in their quest to be green.

The report costs £2,995 (NZ$7,840) for a printed copy plus a PDF under a corporate licence. Unfortunately, they seem to have missed one trick — we understand the report it is not printed on recycled paper.

Frank Hayes’ Frankly Speaking column will return soon