Under pressure: 10 sources pushing CIOs to go green

Under pressure: 10 sources pushing CIOs to go green

CFOs, utilities top our list of who's driving IT to be more energy efficient

APC's Tuccillo says one of the key areas where IT vendors are applying pressure is in the development of metrics that CIOs can use to measure IT and data center energy efficiency.

"The near-term fixes are going to be in the areas of increasing the energy efficiency of existing data centers. The first step is to measure what we're doing," Tuccillo says. "It's through groups like The Green Grid and others that we're able to gather that data and compare it against peers."

IT industry groups also are providing operational best practices for IT departments.

"The IT vendor community recognized this was a challenge that could not be met by any one entity," Tuccillo says. "We recognized that this tidal wave was coming, and we decided we'd better work together as an industry to start solving the problem. There's still an opportunity for differentiation for IT vendors, but there's also room for commonality in terms of standard metrics and a common lexicon."

Industry officials involved with groups such as Climate Savers and The Green Grid say they are trying to involve more IT buyers in their activities.

"This can't just be the tech industry pushing," Intel's Skinner says. "We're also working on the demand side of this...A key pillar of what we're trying to do is raise awareness of computer buyers and work the demand side of it so they will make more purchases that are energy efficient."

Still, IT industry observers say most CIOs are not yet choosing servers, desktops or other IT gear based on how environmentally friendly it is.

"I don't think CIOs are buying stuff because it's green. That's not their primary focus. It's an afterthought," Acumen's Stanley says. "The decision criteria from a computing perspective is: Does it get the job done and is it cost-effective?"

6. The media

Pressure gauge reading: 5

Going hand-in-hand with the pressure that CIOs feel from lawmakers and the IT industry is pressure from the media, which informs CIOs about what's going on in these areas.

The mainstream media, trade journals and bloggers have all focused on the connection between data centers, computing and energy use.

"The media as well as bloggers play a critical role in building awareness and communication," Google's Teetzel says. "Ten years ago, people wouldn't be able to quote their parts per million in C02. Today people who are not environmental scientists can. The media has been a big impetus of the climate change debate."

The media not only raises the climate change issue, but fosters debate and encourages investment in environmental technologies.

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