Green IT: Follow the Savings, Not the Jargon

When it comes to the jargon-laden “green IT” sector, companies have a common response: meh. But it’s the opportunity that companies see to save money via reduced energy costs that’s really driving companies to buy so-called green IT products, or gear that can make IT more energy efficient.

That’s the findings of a report out from research firm Forrester, which found that while only a quarter of the companies surveyed have a dedicated budget specifically for “green IT,” close to three quarters of the companies are actually buying products that reduce the energy consumption of data centers and IT systems. In other words: cut the jargon, follow the savings.

Right now, it’s the data center, and its massive energy-sucking ways, that can often provide the most savings for companies’ energy bills. Forrester says that 70 percent of the companies are already virtualizing servers — replacing server hardware with software — which eliminates the energy consumption of the retired machines. You can bet that virtualization giant VMware (s VMW) didn’t set out marketing its technology as “green IT.”

About half of the companies are already (or planning on) rearranging the hot and cool aisles in data centers to optimize cooling. Cooling systems for data centers often come in the form of large chillers, and can be responsible for half of the data center’s energy consumption. A quarter of the companies said they had already implemented precision cooling, which is cooling systems targeted at certain sections of the data center. And a third of the companies surveyed have already reduced redundant applications on servers (eliminating unnecessary processing that consumes energy).

However, other data center energy innovations aren’t making much of a dent yet. Energy efficient modular data center designs are not being looked at seriously — 77 percent of companies have no plans to implement this on a near term horizon. Direct current power systems (DC), which is a more efficient way to use power, are almost unheard of with 83 percent of companies saying they have no near term plans to implement the tech.

While clearly some of the data center energy efficiency tech is more popular than others, startups are still gearing up to sell their energy innovations to corporations. Just this week, General Electric (s GE) said it invested in SynapSense, a startup which makes wireless monitoring and management systems that track energy consumption for data centers.

Forrester says it’s up to the Chief Information Officer’s leadership to show his/her company that “green IT” isn’t about jargon, but about savings. Forrester recommends using real world case studies as examples, like those from Nike (s NKE), AT&T (s T), the City of Palo Alto, and UPS (s UPS), who have shown significant financial savings, via the energy savings of green IT.

For more research on data center energy check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Green Data Center Design Strategies

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