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October - 2008 - issue > Cover Feature
Green Computing is the Utmost Requirement
Subhash (Sam) S. Valanju
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Green computing is the practice of using computing resources efficiently. Modern IT systems rely upon a complicated mix of people, networks, and hardware, as such, a green computing initiative must be systemic in nature, and address increasingly sophisticated problems. Green computing is the utmost requirement to protect environment and save energy along with operational expenses in today's increasingly competitive world. We at Johnson Controls currently are working on implementation of the green computing practices. But before implementing, it's also important to study about what kind of energy gains and operational gains can be achieved. Hence, analysis of the gap between what we have today and what we'll have to do is essential in order to achieve the benefits of green computing. Currently we are in that stage.

Also, every big change begins from small initiatives. For instance, we started some of the simple but effective initiatives like setting the power options on your computer or in phones to switch to sleep mode when it's not active. When you're going to be away from your PC for more than a few minutes, setting it to stand-by mode and turning off the monitor will save a huge amount of energy.

Interestingly, companies in every industry, from nonprofits to consumer goods, are paying much closer attention to their power bills, as the amount spent on data center power has doubled in the past six years. The good news is that computer companies are talking about greenness and are touting green programs nowadays.

Even consumers are now becoming increasingly aware of green technologies and are starting to demand more environmentally friendly products in their homes and workplaces. This trend also encompasses the vehicle market. Automakers have been listening to the feedback and addressing consumer needs through cars that have better fuel economy, have lower emissions, and include natural materials.

Data center servers, air conditioning, and networking equipments use a major part of power consumed by an organization. As a result, some companies are chasing cheaper data center power. Industry experts say the power consumption of data centers is doubling every five years or so, making them one of the fastest-growing drags on energy in the U.S. For these companies, Green Computing means staying put and cutting costs. Fortunately, environmental friendly options are rising as fast as energy prices.

Gartner reckons that by 2010, about half of the Forbes Global 2000 companies will spend more on energy than on hardware such as servers. Energy costs, now about 10 percent of the average IT budget, could rise to 50 percent in a matter of few years, they opine. To keep servers at the right temperature, companies mainly rely on air-conditioning. The more powerful the machine, the more cool air needed to keep it from overheating.

Virtualization is one of the most effective tools for cost-effective and greener computing. We deployed VMware virtualization products recently. By dividing each server into multiple virtual machines that run different applications, companies can increase their server utilization rates and shrink their sprawling farms. We have got tremendous benefit from it.

Hence, technologies like Green Computing, virtualization, and others are increasingly on the radar screens of CIOs nowadays. The primary motivation behind this is cost savings. At the same time the good news for Mother Earth is that there are a lot of money-saving, eco-friendly steps just waiting for IT executives to take.

(Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) provides innovative automotive interiors that help make driving more comfortable, safe, and enjoyable. For buildings, it offers products and services that optimize energy use and improve comfort and security. Johnson Controls also provides batteries for automobiles and hybrid-electric vehicles, along with systems engineering and service expertise.)

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