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How green is your valley?

Right from servers that consume lesser power, switches that drop to lower power while idle and even high-end videoconferencing systems, these days everything seems to have a green spin to it. And the truth is getting drowned in this cacophony of claims and counter-claims made by vendors of every hue and colour. You decide to do it all – solar heating panels, energy-efficient equipment, liquid cooling, the works. But does that really mean you on top of things? With energy usage skyrocketing all over the world, including the Middle East, and data centres becoming biggest power hoggers, no doubt getting in early with green tech can shore up your company’s bottomline. However, where to start, is the real question. Can going virtual and reducing your server sprawl reduce the carbon footprint and save you some money in the process? Sure it can, but that alone may not help the cause.

A peek inside the greenest data centers in developed countries will show you that these facilities are a mix of high-tech and low-tech, innovative and obvious ways of cutting back on electricity and creating more environmentally friendly IT operations. Apart from design, maybe a good way to get started on the road to green is to recycle your old hardware, which might be easier than you think, and hire experts to conduct a thermal study that can pinpoint hot spots where excess energy consumption occurs in your data centres.

Of course, going green is not easy. Change can be expensive, and such a radical change could be difficult to handle. According to a recent survey from Symantec, many IT administrators are still not familiar with green technologies. However, it’s time for most of you to bite the bullet, and start thinking about the long-term benefits, rather than worry about up-front expenses. Agreed, green IT is a hard sell for most IT managers because most of these projects are often viewed as a ‘nice’ thing to do, rather than as serious saving opportunities. But, that might change the moment you can articulate financial benefits – green IT makes good business at the moment. The trick is finding a right method to calculate the RoI.

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