An emerald ethos

Enterprises might spend a lot of money equipping their datacentres to be green, but the investments may never pay dividends.

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By  Sathya Ashok Published  June 4, 2008

The Datacentre Focus section of the July issue of NME will feature an article on how enterprises can go ‘green' with their IT investments, implementation and management.

The feature will also explore the relative costs and benefits to enterprises in turning their technology into a distinct jade colour.

Going green is all the rage in the Middle East and, as can be expected, the feature has excited a lot of industry stakeholders in the region - especially vendors - to approach the NME team with their respective inputs. From the looks of it, making enterprise technology more environment-friendly, is everything that can be asked for in a win-win situation for vendors and end-users alike.

This is because, according to many in the industry, the ‘greening' of technology and datacentres can bring multiple benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness, especially with regard to power and cooling and increased operational efficiency.

Be it all it may, making your technology function in a greener way cannot be considered in a vacuum. It has to be a part of an organisation's ethos, and being more eco-friendly has to be a concept that is felt across the spectrum of an enterprise's operations. And this means, not just making differences in huge investments like datacentre technology but actually going down to details and instilling relatively minor practices that make a difference however small.

For example, an organisation with green on its mind will reduce its paper consumption by restricting the number of pages that are printed. It will enforce a strict lights-out policy on the floors when office hours come to an end. It will also instruct its employees to, and ensure that, their respective systems are switched off when they leave the premises.

Technology can help with enforcing these practices, and can make it easier for employees and organisations to move down the path of getting greener. But it is the basic practices that will drive technology investments, not the other way around. This is true even within a datacentre. What systems you use for controlling power and cooling, will depend upon how much you believe it is a necessity to ensure that you keep both under strict control.

Green is a mindset, a concept of which technology is a minor part. IT vendors and even end-users often tend to forget that in their en masse move to board the bandwagon of environment-friendliness. A truly green organisation is one where everybody is working towards the singular goal of getting greener, and it becomes part of the cultural under-pinning that is felt from IT and HR, to administration and sales.

Enterprises might spend a lot of money in equipping their datacentres to be green, but without adequate management that is driven by a foundation of practices and processes, these investments might never really pay true dividends.

When an organisation decides that ‘green' is the way to go, for whatever reasons, it should begin by looking more at internal practices and processes than at external vendor products and technology solutions. In the long run, they might find that the former was, after all, the best place to start.

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