Really Green IT
Written By: Andrew West
Have you noticed that everything, from companies to the products that they sell, is suddenly “green” almost overnight? Is it possible that the same dish detergent that you bought last year is really green this year? If you’re as skeptical as I am, it’s probably because your intuition is right on. “Greenwashing” is a common phenomenon whereby companies intentionally highjack the Green bandwagon in order to market their offerings to an environmentally conscious consumer base, often without making any changes at all other than the label on the package.
The Information Technology industry – while far from perfect – has made real and significant strides towards energy and materials efficiency in the past 5 years. While incremental improvements are continually being made in low-power components and manufacturing processes, virtualization is king with its clear and immediate green contributions. The gist of virtualization can be summed up as follows: consolidate a lot of hardware that spends most of its time powered on and idle into less hardware that is highly utilized. Using server virtualization specifically as an example, it’s common to consolidate 10 to 15 physical servers into one physical server as virtual servers. The green benefits – typically equated to minimizing carbon emissions overall – are obvious in this scenario: less hardware equals less packing waste, less carbon emissions are produced by shipping, less electricity (used directly by servers themselves and indirectly by cooling these servers) is used, less real estate is consumed, and servers can be automatically powered down during periods of low usage. When it comes to virtualization, most people think of servers first, however it’s important to be aware that virtualization is happening in all aspects of IT including storage and desktops; the benefits of virtualization apply equally to these technologies.