CDW Survey Says IT Shouldn’t Wear Green on Its Sleeves
May 27, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
IT professionals are, by nature, a pretty skeptical lot. You’d expect that, after being told so many promises about how such and such a technology was going to make their lives easier, and maybe it did and maybe it didn’t, and, to be fair, after making their own predictions about the impact of their own code or IT architecture, which may or may not have panned out for end users. And so it is during the new energy crunch and this whole “green IT” phenomenon. People sometimes over do it.
That is not to say that large data centers are not in the middle of their own crisis over power, cooling, compute density, and scalability, because they most certainly are. But the issues that affect the largest data centers, with their mountains of consolidated IT gear, do not necessarily affect small and midrange business in the same degree.
According to a survey of IT people done by distributor CDW, which focuses on the small and medium business market, the terms “green IT” and “sustainable IT” are not well known to the IT professionals that are its customers, even though 74 percent of these same executives are somewhat or extremely familiar with the power management and virtualization technologies that are themselves key components of green IT.
Perhaps more importantly, while the IT pros say, in general, that green IT technologies are important to them, their bosses–the presidents and owners of the companies that they work for–are less concerned about IT-specific energy costs than they are controlling energy costs across the entire company. This stands to reason. For a lot of companies, the energy consumed by a half rack of servers in the corner of one building doesn’t stack up against other issues. (I mean, how could it?) So it comes as no surprise that among the 557 companies surveyed by CDW, only a third of the companies had initiated a green initiative (IT or otherwise) to try to reduce energy consumption within their department or across their company. And of those that do have a green initiative, a little less than a third of these companies have not yet brought the IT department into the equation. In many cases, the green initiatives that do related to IT are more about recycling displaced servers and PCs in an environmentally sound way, not worrying about virtualizing and sharing components or reducing power and cooling requirements.
“IT decision makers, like many business executives, are very happy to accept environmental benefits from their choices,” explains Mark Gambill, vice president and chief marketing officer at CDW. “But their first requirement is that marketers help them solve operational problems and offer a solid business case. There are many paths to a greener IT operation, whether or not they are marked with green signs. This survey says that IT professionals may be applauded for being green, but they are rewarded for making good IT decisions.”
It sure isn’t easy being green, is it, Kermit? Unless you are talking about saved dollar bills, of course. Then, out comes the envy–which is also green. When electricity costs 50 cents a kilowatt hour, we’ll see how this CDW survey pans out when the company runs it again.