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Green IT: Sustainable Information Technologies

The automotive industry is not alone in its attempt to successively reduce the emission levels on our planet, in this case through the introduction of electric cars. Those responsible for the IT sector can also use cloud computing, server virtualization or state-of-the-art datacenters to contain the environmental impact. This article gives you a comprehensive introduction to green IT. It also includes an overview of the measures that companies can take to roll out more environmentally friendly policies.

Green IT: What is it?

The term green IT means nothing other than the use of information technology in a manner that preserves resources and protects the environment. The primary objectives include a reduction in energy consumption and pollutant emissions in the manufacture, use and disposal of products. Among other things, the fact that the production of hardware like PC monitors or towers consumes almost as much energy as their use over three to four years clearly demonstrates the importance of this aspect.

Cloud computing and server virtualization: A blessing for the environment and the company accounts
Not only does the implementation of green IT measures impact positively on the environment, it also offers companies significant cost-cutting potential, as shown in the following examples.

Cloud Computing: The green zone

Cloud computing – so the provision of IT infrastructure via the Internet – plays an important role in green IT. Above all, it allows the replacement of poorly utilized data centers with highly optimized server environments. Besides reducing the energy costs, it also minimizes the time required to maintain a company’s proprietary systems.

Another factor is that users can select precisely the performance they need. Resources can hence be activated and deactivated to meet current requirements. Users only pay for what they actually consume, cutting back on costs for dormant server capacity. Another factor is that this kind of data center is usually more energy-efficient, as they are maintained as state-of-the-art facilities.

What’s more, it is not necessary to activate all servers continuously, as the users share technical components. Cloud-based collaboration tools like Office 365, Google Drive or Dropbox allow colleagues to work efficiently, wherever they are, while companies save costs on high-performance and energy-guzzling hardware.

Summarized benefits of cloud computing

  • lower energy consumption
  • therefore a reduction in the carbon footprint
  • lower consumption of hardware, i.e. server, resources
  • less support workload in the data centers
  • significant savings potential

In a nutshell

Cloud computing offers ideal conditions for eco-friendly, resource-preserving IT management. Many companies do not need any or most of their server rooms, which means it is not only ecologically sensible, but also economically profitable to shut them down and switch to the cloud.

Server Virtualization: Ideal Resource Utilization

It is by no means uncommon in many data centers to discover that several servers are responsible for just a few tasks. For instance, one may be principally deployed for Windows and web, another for Linux and the next one for SQL databases. But this puts data center utilization at no more than 30 percent. Server virtualization is a handy alternative. Here, resources such as computing power, storage, network and security are cleverly distributed among the available services. In other words, the virtualization software ensures that various operating systems and applications run ‘separately’ on a physical host. This makes the data centers significantly more efficient and increases utilization to as much as 50 percent! By proceeding in this way, the hardware can draw on its full potential so that fewer servers are needed. In turn, this reduces electricity consumption, which is good for the environment and has a pleasing side-effect for the company accounts.

Server virtualization has now spread to many areas of data centers. The next challenge is to virtualize business-critical or production-relevant workloads.

Skype, Modern Cooling & Co: Other Green IT Measures

Trends like digitization or big data call for increasingly high-performance server rooms in many companies. This leads to spiraling energy consumption, which in turn impacts the environment and generates additional costs for the company. Innovative cooling and ventilation methods help to reduce the energy costs substantially. This way, modern data centers can operate without a hitch in rooms at temperatures of up to 35 °C. The average is around 22 °C.

Another factor offering significant savings potential and an effective contribution to green IT is quite simply modern software. As obvious and logical as it sounds, Internet telephony is nevertheless an excellent example. Even ‘normal’ telecommunications reduce the need for many business trips. And Skype for Business, Discord and co. ease the strain on the business coffers additionally. Another benefit: The software is easy to implement and operate.

Summary

As you see, we have plenty of green IT opportunities – cloud computing, server virtualization, etc. – that help to manage everyday business while protecting the environment and reducing costs as well.

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  • Tuesday 12 December 2017

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