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What Are the Top 10 Green IT Strategies?

I could be here all day discussing vendors, but I won't go down that rabbit hole

I could be here all day discussing vendors, but I won't go down that rabbit hole, I'll just say brush up on your VMware skills and all the extra moving parts that go with it.  For every dollar of VMware sold their is $15 dollars worth of auxiliary needs and wants.  I personally favor VMware because it rocks!

Top Ten Green IT Solutions:

  1. Virtualization
  2. Data Center Optimization
  3. Power Management
  4. Data De-Duplication
  5. Electronic Waste Management
  6. Cloud Computing
  7. Carbon Accounting & Management
  8. Teleconference
  9. Telecommute/Telework
  10. Paperless Solutions, Document Management

Bonus Green IT Solutions:

11. Green Printing (http://www.reducetoner.com)

12. Software Cholesterol

Green IT is a marketing fad: yes and no!
Back in 2009, when I started the Green IT Practice for EcomNets, I was optimistic that every company would adopt the top 10 strategies for Green IT immediately.  After gaining no visible business, I realized that I was the consummate early-adopter.  Back then, nobody knew there was a chasm to cross, in fact I had to explain to IT professionals that Green IT is more than being on the Internet. It is, in fact, energy efficient computing from the desktop to the data center, from hardware to software, and from manufacturing to waste management.

Many organizations have recently developed Green IT or Sustainability in IT just to have that practice available just for money's sake.  Only a few have started their practice as a go to strategy because they believe in it.  Beware of all the also-ran's.  The problem with this idea of adding another product line, is that you may miss the essence of the movement without education.  Does your values line up with the Green Movement, or do you comply to recent legislation?  I say be the early adopter, and help create the standards.  We take a Sarbanes-Oxley approach to how we assess IT environments for sustainability.

Leadership is needed in Sustainability!
Back then we thought that talking to newly appointed Directors of Sustainability was all we had to do.  For the data center we wanted to talk to the CIO and Facilities Operations, only to find out they don't play well with each other.  We soon learned that upper management had to lead Sustainability efforts.  They had to mandate that facilities, IT departments, and Sustainability Managers work together.  At a typical data center mechanical engineers parked their trucks in the back, and IT engineers parked their sports cars in front.  If they had a Sustainability Director, they had no line of power.

Fortunately, federal government, mainly President Obama created newExecutive Order #13415, to drive the government to be greener.  Then in corporate America, we have Wal-Mart leading the way with their Wal-Mart Sustainability Index.  The tide is changing.

Green IT Is Profitable!
For some reason, business assumed that Green IT was just as expensive as Green Building, which is far from the truth. Several Green IT strategies often cut energy usage by 50% or more with an ROI within 3 to 6 months.  With these provocative results, I again thought companies would jump all over these strategies.  Somehow we have to attach budgets, and performance evaluations to this issue.

Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to buy bigger, stronger, faster computers.  We have no such need because we can't physically keep up with the speed of today's computers.  If you don't believe me, stop using the apps on your iPhone. I just watched"Battlefield:Los Angeles" on my iPhone.  Saturday, I listened to the police scanners on the way home from the pub from my iPhone. I have 14GB on my iPhone, which I will never ever completely use. Less is more. In theory, the savings should allow an IT group to invest in other strategic initiatives.

Imagine being able to cut energy usage up to 50% or more with several different strategies.  Imagine consolidating data center servers by up to 66%, and using the spare servers for disaster recovery.  Not only do I reduce energy usage, and space concerns, I have saved a considerable amount of money.  In addition, I can control the air flow in my data center for hot and cold aisle.  I can use venting techniques.  If I can get the CIO to understand how electricity is connected to their data center budget, then maybe I wouldn't have to preach the virtues of Green IT so much.

For the IT professional that snubs their nose at PC Power Management, and Green Printing, you must NOT ignore these very simple, cost-effective strategies. Power Management at the desktop alone can save up to 40% on energy usage.  Green Printing can save up to 70% on toner usage without degrading the quality of the print job.  These solutions are anywhere from $25 to $75 a desktop, and run as simple agents on your systems with robust management capabilities.  Easy to install, and doesn't hinder other IT operations.

These strategies are the low hanging fruit.  If you don't have the budget or manpower to consolidate your data center, start small. It's a marathon, not a race.  You still get positive results and a ROI within 3 to 6 months, sometimes immediately.

More Stories By Terell Jones

Mr. Jones is the National Director of Cloud Services with Core BTS, Inc., a $180M corporation. He is based out of Fairfax, VA and handles the eastern region for cloud computing. After serving in the first Gulf War in the U.S. Navy Mr. Jones entered the IT field in 1995. He has over 17 years in Information Technology in the fields of Green IT, Cloud Computing, Virtualization, and Managed Services. He is internationally known as “the Green IT Guy” specializing in energy efficient computing from the desktop to the data center, from hardware to software, from the network to the virtual cloud. He has served as the Deputy Director at the Green IT Council since 2010.

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