Green is a bottomline business

Anyone who’s been in this industry for any length of time whatsoever recognizes a hype cycle when it begins. Not that they’re meaningless issues; Web services, for example, were the words on everyone’s lips five-odd years ago, and while the reality didn’t match the hype for some time, it eventually became something of substance and significance — just not in the forecast timeframe.

These days, green is the new black, so to speak. Try to find a major vendor in the technosphere that isn’t at least playing fully puckered lip service to the notion.

It’s a good thing, as Martha Stewart might say — good for the environment, good for the marketing machine. But how relevant is it to the people who run the technology infrastructure? It is, and for reasons that you might not have considered.

It’s a bottom line business, and the bottom line is that power costs are not going down anytime soon. Machines that draw less power are an investment in improving that bottom line, once the capital has been expended. But that’s an obvious green benefit.

Something more subtle is the way it will affect C-suite attitudes toward that green spending.

At HP’s technology forum in Vegas recently, the company’s message was green all over. It’s not a fad for HP, an exec insisted. But there’s more than a whiff of bandwagon-jumping to the position. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of ex-U.S. vice-president Al Gore, green is top of mind in the popular zeitgeist. Companies with an explicit (though sometimes vague) green agenda are enjoying good optics.

As you approach an upcoming technology refresh, green can be your best friend. As Info-Tech analyst John Sloan points out, sometimes storage metrics like increased utilization and better resource allocation don’t resonate with the ones that hold the purse strings. Green metrics, though, with their immense appeal to the marketplace, get noticed.

So when you’re pitching an upgrade to the network infrastructure, put green front and centre. You’re concerned about capacity and throughput and power costs; to some in the position to spend the cash, those are fringe benefits to putting on a green face for the public. You might just improve your chances of getting what you need.