Analyst firm Gartner is predicting that by 2010, environmental-related issues will be among the top five IT management concerns for more than 50 per cent of state and local government organizations in North America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.

This view was reinforced by Gartner vice president Andrea Di Maio, who said that although green IT is an important theme for many industries, government organizations will be more exposed to it as they play key roles in regulating and supervising the environmental impact of IT.

“IT is at once a contributor to environmental problems and part of many solutions,” Di Maio added. “Governments will need to deal with both aspects at the same time as green IT leads to new IT investments as well as changes in the way that IT spending is assessed and managed.”

Looking forward, Gartner foresees that green IT will affect many aspects of IT management and operations. “The move towards greater consolidation and the use of shared services in government is already happening as a consequence of cost pressures,” said Di Maio. He points out that centralized data centres and networks are likely to be better managed, from an environmental impact perspective, by the use of virtualization, better utilization and capacity management.”

Gartner also believes that the objective of reducing energy consumption and procuring devices with a lower environmental impact will encourage the use of thin-client architectures, and will strengthen the case for open source.

Di Maio added that increasingly, environmental impact, energy consumption and compliance with green IT policies will become significant decision-making criteria for IT investment in geographies and governments where green issues are top concerns.

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