10 Ideas To Power Up Your Green IT Agenda

As IT teams scramble to figure out a green strategy, here are some ideas to fuel the brainstorming.

J. Nicholas Hoover, Senior Editor, InformationWeek Government

September 19, 2008

2 Min Read

9. Consider Water Use, Not Just Power

Cooling data centers takes a lot of water. Microsoft recycles more than 602,000 gallons a day at one San Antonio data center. Highmark collects rainwater off its roof and stores it underground in a 100,000-gallon tank for cooling IT systems. "A lot of people overlook the water situation," says VP of infrastructure management O'Gara. IBM has a Carbon and Water Management Dashboard that can be used with other dashboards or facilities management software to create reports on water and energy use.

Through central monitoring of water systems, Florida's Ave Maria University found that the biggest user isn't showers and toilets as expected, but rather water chillers for the school's air conditioning. It's another incentive to monitor facilities for more efficient ways to cool them.

10. Challenge Conventional Wisdom

IT teams need to be ready to do things differently to get more green.

Even hot aisle/cold aisle configurations and raised floors, long standby practices in the data center, are getting second looks. If racks are too short and air conditioning setups inefficient, hot aisle/cold aisle strategies save less than believed, says Bob Hunter, CEO of power-monitoring company TrendPoint. Bryant University's new energy-efficient data center drops cooling down from above, rather than blowing it up from raised floors. Many data centers weren't built for today's higher-density computing marked by blade servers and densely packed virtualized environments. As companies consolidate data centers, it's an opportunity to bring in new approaches.

Companies will struggle to balance green IT efforts with other business needs. Outsourcing firm HCL Technologies finds that storage and backup, two demands that seem only to go up for U.S. businesses, are the largest drains on power in IT, says Anubhav Saxena, associate VP for America. The more firewalls and intrusion-prevention and intrusion-detection systems companies run, the more power those systems use and the more power it takes to get data from one end of the network to the other. Yet no one's suggesting it's time to ease off those efforts.

But security's a good comparison for what IT must do to go green. Information security works best when it's considered at each step of a business initiative, not bolted on during implementation. For green IT to make an impact, it needs that same presence in the process.

-- with Chris Murphy

Photograph By Getty Images

About the Author(s)

J. Nicholas Hoover

Senior Editor, InformationWeek Government

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights