IT consultants jump on the green bandwagon

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

Today’s crop of green IT advice includes a free podcast from the Burton Group, market research from Forrester and, today’s most imposing offering, 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 data center power and cooling efficiency could be increased. Reeves talks about how a CIO might approach the issue in general; having the data center electricity bill added to his budget, for example. Kurtz describes ten short-term and long-term things CIOs could change in the data center, ranging from turning on CPU stepping to locating a data center to a cooler climate. The sound quality is not great but it does only take up 11 minutes or so of your time.

Forrester Group

The Forrester Group 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 data centers 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 Forrester IT Forum in Edinburgh this week, 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 organizations 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 just US$279 from Forrester’s Web site.

BroadGroup report

The BroadGroup ‘The Evolution of Green Data Centres: a practical guide” is a weightier affair altogether.

It describes the characteristics of green data centers and the potential advantages to companies adopting them. The report assesses inefficiencies in the data center (“an average Data Centre is using around 50 times more energy than an office block”), server proliferation and rising data center density. It reckons that 2010 is looking to be a point at which IT power and cooling costs will overtake IT hardware expenditures.

The meat of the report looks at the practical implementation of green data centers and advises readers on the processes they must follow in formulating green strategies. It includes an outline list of recommendations for data centers to follow. To help 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 Data Centre 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 data centers, and the many issues involved in the current debate. It offers, the group states, a methodical review and recommendations of steps for data center managers to take in their quest to be ‘green’.

The report costs

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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