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

Doug Washburn

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?

Doug Washburn

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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Goldman: CIOs Don’t Want Cloud – Well, Duh.

James Staten

Jamesstaten
Goldman
Sachs & Co. recently released the results of their latest survey of CIOs

which showed that enterprise IT is contracting spending a bit and that cloud
computing is at the very bottom of their priority list. This shouldn’t come as
a surprise to anyone, nor should it be seen as a needle inserted into the cloud
computing hype balloon because CIOs
aren’t the target market for clouds
. Like other disruptive innovations in
the technology space, such as cloud
collaboration
, software
as a service (SaaS
) and the
iPhone
, cloud computing targets the tech savvy business developer, startup
and interactive marketer. These business innovators don’t take their technology
cues from the corporate standards set by infrastructure & operations
professionals.

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VMware Levels The Playing Field: ESX Now Free

James Staten

Jamesstaten
As predicted
by Forrester
, New
CEO Paul Maritz
announced this week that VMware will drop the price of ESXi (their base server
hypervisor) to $0 (from $495).
This obviously comes in response to Microsoft Hyper-V
pricing ($28 per server) and as competition to the free open source Xen
hypervisor.

Support is not included with the free ESXi; if you want that
it starts at $495/server
per year
.

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IBM's Play In Cloud Computing? Listening Carefully

James Staten

James IBM's PR engine has been ratcheting up the volume about its efforts in cloud computing lately and if you are like me, I found their press releases confusing, so I got them on the phone to try and get past the hype to better understand what they are really doing in this space. Turns out they have turned on a powerful listening and learning engine.

IBM’s BlueCloud initiative isn't (at least not initially) an attempt to become a cloud services provider or to become a cloud computing platform, but rather to help their customers experiment with, try out, and custom design cloud solutions to fit their needs. Building off the IBM Innovation Center concept, IBM is providing Cloud centers that are places customers from enterprise and government accounts, as well as non-IBM customers can test out cloud computing concepts, mostly for deployment internal to their own data centers. Gerrit Huizenga, the technical solutions architect for BlueCloud for IBM's Systems & Technology Group (STG) said these efforts are helping them build out a series of cloud blueprints, or proven/standardized cloud infrastructures. "Our goal is to deliver solutions that make it much easier to deploy and manage these things," Huizenga said.

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Cloud Maturity Is Accelerating: More Than Just Reaction To The Hype?

James Staten

James Over the past few months a flurry of announcements have begun swirling around the cloud computing space, which remains a nascent market in the overall IT realm. Do these announcements portend a fast maturity for the concept or just the typical "me too" that comes with a hyped market?

In June, RightScale, a cloud management software and consulting company that has become a bit of a poster child as a cloud integrator, announced a partnership with GigaSpaces that integrates their eXtreme Application Platform (XAP) clustering and cache solution with the RightScale automated cloud management platform for Amazon EC2 clients. The value of this partnership comes from the fact that EC2 simply provides you with a VM you can populate but no availability or scalability services. XAP is a cluster architecture that delivers these values and can be quickly and easily deployed via the RightScale tool.

Next came Elastra, a San Francisco startup building a Cloud Server, a middleware layer that turns a commodity infrastructure into a cloud (similar value to what 3Tera provides today). The first iteration deploys similarly to XAP -- as a software layer you load into EC2 VMs, that enables scale and availability to the apps you lay on top of it.

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CIs are People Too!

Glenn O'Donnell

Glen O'Donnell Well, actually vice-versa! The configuration management database (CMDB) is a hot topic these days in IT. With my arrival at Forrester, I am ambitiously building upon the solid foundation of thought leadership my colleagues have built on CMDB. One topic I wish to address is the notion that people (yes, you and me) are configuration items within the whole CMDB discussion.

When people talk about CMDB, they usually refer to infrastructure components as CIs. In some more enlightened cases, they accept that applications and business services are also CIs. As we assemble all of these CIs into cohesive views of our world, we need to include another critical domain -- us.

That’s right, no view of the IT or business landscape is complete without considering the roles of the people. Some of us are technology support, some are users, some are external customers, some are executives, and some are outsourced service providers. In the context of business services, we are integral elements to the service definition.

Some will interpret this concept of relegating people to CIs as cold and demeaning. This is certainly not my intent, but when you realize that we are all cogs in the greater business machinery, it quickly becomes apparent that we are normalized at some structural level to business impact strikingly similar to infrastructure. That’s not cold, it’s just the way it is in a sound service model. It doesn’t mean anyone is any less witty, charming, or warm.

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Is Your ISP Jumping On The 100 Gigabit Ethernet Bandwagon?

James Staten

We've established that 10 GbE is now ready for the enterprise, which means it is time to start worrying about whether your Internet service provider (ISP) is adopting 100 gigabit Ethernet (100 GbE). ISPs aggregate enterprise traffic and connect you to the Internet over high speed optical networks that must ensure the adequate bandwidth and quality of service (QoS) you require.

While the majority of customers won’t fill their 10 GbE pipes this year or next, many will; advanced applications such as high definition video streaming, video conferencing, data replication, and wide area clustering for business continuity will tax bandwidth. Moreover, corporate networks will take advantage of the better bandwidth of 10 GbE to shift to IP-based Unified Communications (UC.) Forrester Research found that 36% of enterprises in North America and Europe have deployed or are rolling out UC this year with another 36% evaluating it. All these high-bandwidth services require strong QoS to meet enterprise needs and drive adoption.

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IBM Gets Into The Data Center-In-A-Box Business -- Better Late Than Never!

James Staten

James_2IBM announced Wednesday
that like Sun and Rackable before them, they will now be offering a Portable
Modular Data Center (PMDC) similar to Verari’s FOREST,
Sun’s
Blackbox, and Rackable’s ICE Cube and Concentro.
IBM also rolled out their
new Enterprise
Modular Data Center (EMDC) and Modular High Density Zone (MHDZ).
 

This data center-in-a-box is portable, stackable, and can be
deployed in as little at 12 to 14 weeks, says IBM. It supports an open architecture and
equipment from non-IBM vendors. IBM states that if you need to expand your data
center fast, but don’t have the space, the PMDC is worth considering.

Huh? A data center in the trailer of an 18-wheeler? What do
you do, park it outside next to your data center? How does this make sense? And
for whom?

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Help Set Energy Star Standards?

James Staten

James_2Everyone wants to make their data centers more efficient and
gain recognition for their efforts but we’re lacking the benchmarks to shoot
for. Well, here’s your chance to help change that. On March 20th the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) kicked off a data collection process to help create Energy
Star™ ratings for data centers. Energy Star, the best known energy efficiency
identifier, is respected as a mark of credibility for products and services
that deliver superior energy efficiency. While mainly a consumer mark, the EPA
recently published a draft standard for servers ,
its first serious foray into providing enterprise product and service guidance.
While extending Energy Star to your corporate data center, consumed only by
your own company, may not have customer impact, it has corporate brand value that
matters to the C-level executives. It will also have differentiating value when
choosing outsourced service providers.

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