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IT and the environment - in defence of datacentres

The general public is becoming increasingly cynical about the environment claims of businesses and with much bad press around data centres, information technology (IT) is in the front line. But data centres are actually the easiest bit of IT to control and consolidating infrastructure into them can help reduce the overall energy usage of IT and, if used well, IT itself can help businesses reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Author/s: Bob Tarzey , Clive Longbottom
Created: 05/09/2007
Filename: Quocirca_-_IT_and_the_environment_-_Sept_2007.pdf
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Tags: data centre   sustainability  
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  • The office is IT's wild frontier where power usage is out of control
    PCs, printers, branch office servers, IP phones etc. are all deployed in hard to regulate and manage office spaces. But much of this infrastructure could be consolidated into data centres
  • The data centre is an easier environment to control and monitor
    Much can be done to reduce power usage in data centres, but it may be justifiable to increase this by consolidating as much IT infrastructure from those hard to tame office spaces in to the data centres where it can be better managed
  • Where consolidation into the data centres is not possible, standardization and remote management can be used to minimise the impact of office based IT equipment
    Thin client computing means less PCs deployed in offices and consolidating branch office servers into the data centres can actually reduce network traffic. But printers, phones and other peripherals needs to be near users, applying green standards and remote power management can reduce their energy usage
  • Relying more on data centres means data centres need to be even more reliable
    IT resources being unavailable is less and less acceptable to any business and consolidating into data centres can lead to single points of failure. The risk of data centre outage can be mitigated if good management tools and procedures are in place
  • IT has plenty to give back in the overall greening of business
    It is not just the hot air produced by data centres that can be harnessed. Collaborative applications can help reduce travel, business processes driven by IT can make supply chains more efficient and intelligent building management can save on other energy costs
  • However, any claims that IT is actually helping to reduce a business's carbon foot print need to be substantiated
    It is not enough to make vague claims, they must back backed with measurable and auditable facts, such as real decreases in executive air travel, employee mileage claims and office heating bills