What Do Green IT, The Economic Crisis, And Best Selling Author, Thomas Friedman, All Have In Common? Poor Accounting.

Dougwashburn Consider the following questions posed by Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and author of The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, and more recently, Hot, Flat And Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - And How it Can Renew America:

“Was it an accident that Citibank, Iceland’s banks, and the ice banks of Antarctica all melted at the same time?”

“Was it an accident that Bear Sterns and the polar bears both faced extinction at the same time?”

In Friedman’s eyes, no, the recent economic and environmental woes are not accidental or coincidental. He explains that what the “great recession represents, if that what we can call this economic moment, is that both the market and Mother Nature hit wall at same time.” How? Because, according to Friedman, we’ve been using the same accounting system in both worlds that has massively under-priced risk, privatized gains, and socialized losses:

  • In the financial world, credit default swaps were sold without having adequate collateral behind them, gains were privatized to the financial institutions that sold them, and losses were socialized onto tax payers when the credits actually defaulted.
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What's Your Green IT Baseline? Introducing Forrester’s Online Green IT Baseline Calculator

Dougwashburn You've heard it once and you'll hear it again: You can't manage what you can't measure. This adage is relevant to any IT project — especially if you're getting serious about green IT. Forrester advises that before investing a single dollar, measure your green IT baseline — an annual estimate of the energy consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and financial costs of operating your IT within and outside of the data center.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce Forrester's online green IT baseline calculator — an intuitive, online tool to help IT professionals calculate their green IT baseline.

The tool walks you through the key green IT baseline assumptions, including the number of IT assets, energy draw, and hours of up-time. For additional accuracy, you can customize your price and CO2 emissions per kilowatt. The tool will then automatically calculate your green IT baseline for your review. From there, you can email the results to yourself for future reference (and you can also help guide our research agenda).

Why should you calculate your green IT baseline? My complimentary  green IT podcast and report "Is Green IT Your Emperor With No Clothes?" offer answers and much more. Here's a start:

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What Cisco’s EnergyWise Technology Means To Green IT

DougwashburnTo date, IT pros have given very little attention to the “greening” of the network. Why? Three words: follow the money. According to recent Forrester research, the top motivation for pursing Green IT is to “reduce the energy-related costs of operating IT.” And when compared to other IT energy-drawing assets – like servers, data center cooling or PCs – the energy consumption of the network falls at the bottom of the list, meaning that the ROI to reduce energy use is less compelling.

But the launch of Cisco’s EnergyWise technology is likely to raise the “greening” status of the network. EnergyWise is a free software upgrade to Cisco’s entire line of Catalyst switching gear. The technology allows customers to monitor, manage and ultimately reduce energy consumption of anything “connected” to the network. As Cisco describes, EnergyWise will evolve over three phases, adding new functionality with each iteration:

In the first phase (February 2009), Network Control, Cisco EnergyWise will be supported on Catalyst switches and manage the energy consumption of IP devices such as phones, video surveillance cameras and wireless access points.

In the next phase (Summer 2009), IT Control, there will be expanded industry support of EnergyWise on devices such as personal computers (PCs), laptops and printers.

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Five Reasons To Consider PC Power Management

DougwashburnThe rolodex of Green IT projects available to IT leadership is seemingly endless. But at some point, prioritization is necessary, and IT professionals tend to gravitate to those projects that produce an acceptable financial return with the path of least resistance. And in recent interactions with Forrester clients, it's becoming clear that PC power management -- the act of powering down PCs when not in use (e.g. nights, weekends) -- is one of those projects IT leadership are willing to act on.

Do I agree? In short yes. And here’s why: PC power management can reduce costs, cheaply and effectively, while at the same time help justify more strategic IT investments and improve your green "credentials." Let me elaborate:

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Is The ‘Green’ In Green IT Dead? No, Because It Was Never Really Alive.

Dougwashburn In a number of recent client interactions with both enterprise IT end users and vendors, the question of “Is the ‘green’ in Green IT dead?” has come up. Primarily driven by the current economic climate, IT end users want to understand how relevant the environmental benefits of Green IT should be to their strategic planning; likewise, vendors want to know how palatable green messaging of their products and services is to their customers.

First and foremost, technology is not green and never will be. The design, manufacture, operation and disposal of IT equipment generates tremendous upfront and ongoing environmental impact (read more about this in my “Is Green IT Your Emperor With No Clothes?” research). A recent – and very primetime – example of this is the 60 Minutes "The Electronic Wasteland" segment. David Berlind from InformationWeek offers a great follow on to this in his “An E-Waste Story That'll Make You Want To Quit Tech” story.

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PC Power Management Heats Up

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As the PC power management space is heats up, it’s quite fitting that today is “Power IT Down Day” – a participatory event put on by Hewlett-Packard, Citrix Systems, and Intel to encourage governments and businesses alike to reduce their IT-related energy consumption by powering down computers, monitors, and printers at the end of the day. Other recent examples also highlight the attention directed to the reducing energy consumption across PCs:

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Making Green IT Palatable For The Business: Should You Call Green IT, “Green IT”?

Dougwashburn In many of my recent interactions with both enterprise IT end users and vendors, the notion of calling Green IT something other than “Green IT” occurs with fair consistency. Some of the variations to Green IT that I’ve come across purposely call out an environmental agenda, i.e. Greener IT, Sustainable IT, and Eco-Efficient IT. While others are purely business such as Efficient IT, Energy Efficient IT, or Lean IT.

This very debate came up during a panel I hosted at last week’s Next Generation Data Center Conference, and it reminds me of a book I came across called the “The Sneaky Chef: How To Hide Healthy Foods In Kid's Favorite Meals.” The premise is that parents can encourage healthy eating habits in the children by “hiding” healthy foods in meals that kids already love — without their kids’ knowledge. For example, brownies spiked with spinach or chocolate pudding laced with avocado.

So how should you decide to message your Green IT initiative? My standard response is that it depends on your audience:

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Is The “Green” Data Center The Next Generation Data Center?

Dougwashburn Yes, but the shade of green will vary. While it’s clear that the next generation data center will be an energy efficient data center, incorporating other green data center features — from reduced water usage, to sustainable site planning, to sourcing IT gear manufactured in a more eco-responsible fashion — are not likely to happen at the same pace.

Why? Reduced energy consumption in the data center offers tangible and immediate environmental and economic savings, but also goes hand-in-hand with alleviating out of space and out of power concerns — challenges, that for now, trump purely green motivations.

At last week’s annual Next Generation Data Center Conference held in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to discuss the role of “green” in the data center by moderating a panel on the topic of “Greening of the Data Center — Practical Steps That Can Be Implemented Today With Real World Savings.” The panel consisted of major industry hitters — including Jack Pouchet of Emerson Power Network, Joe Prisco of IBM, Michael Patterson of Intel, Christian Belady of Microsoft, and John Pflueger of Dell — with all panelists having a stake in enacting green and or energy efficiency strategies within their organizations. Here are some key takeaways from the session:

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