1. Green IT
Expect 2008 to be a year of self-proclaimed IT eco-warriors. There is of course no such thing as purely green IT — computing technologies are not about to become zero-footprint and fully compostable. But all the big players now have some sort of green message, with the data centre being the obvious battleground.
When you peel away the layers of the onion it’s clear that the dominant message of processing efficiency, reduced rack-space, and a lighter load-per-unit for heating and cooling, is really one of cost-savings and enhanced profitability. This is a direct consequence of increased energy costs, and not a result of today’s CEOs becoming foot soldiers in Al Gore’s army.
Within industry, companies need to look all the way down the supply chain. Subodh Bapat, vice-president and distinguished engineer for Sun’s eco-responsibility team, claims that the company has fairly deep insight into its suppliers’ practices, and holds them to high environmental standards during manufacturing, packaging and shipping.
That said, most IT companies won’t be offering up embedded energy costs of their total operations in 2008. In many ways Subodh Bapat is refreshing in his candour: “Sun’s view all along is that ‘eco’ means ecology and economics,” he says. “We have always advised our customers that the best eco projects are those that can be immediately justified as having quantifiable paybacks through cost-reduction or revenue enhancement.”
TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2008