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A greener thumb

A greener thumb

If you are still a little sceptical on the green IT push, consider this: In Australia during the 2008/09 financial year, servers will use 2.61 billion kilowatt hours of power, the cost will be $256 million and that will result in 2.6 billion kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions.

For Frost and Sullivan senior industry analyst, Simon Hayes, this is one of many statistics leading organisations to take, or at least plan, action on combating their power usage in the datacentre prior to any government moves on the proposed carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS).

“That is a figure that kind of puts it all in context,” he said. “But we also found organisations were particularly motivated by the upcoming emissions trading scheme.”

A recent Frost and Sullivan survey of IT decision makers at 101 Australian companies found 22 per cent had a sustainability policy with emissions targets in place, while 40 had a policy but no targets. “That suggests to me there really is a renewed focus on reducing power use in the datacentre and a renewed focus on the environmental sustainability in the IT department of the organisation,” Hayes said.

“About 21 per cent of power use at National Australia Bank is attributable to its two Victorian datacentres. So that gives you an idea of how, if you can significantly reduce your power use in the datacentre, you can reduce your power bill.”

According to the analyst firm’s modelling, the average industrial power cost is $0.10 per kilowatt hour. This could increase to $0.15 with the introduction of the ETS – although this would vary according to geographic location and other economic and policy factors.

“One thing we are finding is that CIOs are actually responsible for their own power bills,” Hayes said. “Obviously, that makes a difference as to whether they are sensitive around it.”

In the survey 28 per cent of respondents said they were responsible for their own power bills and 18.8 per cent plan to redesign their datacentre. The three biggest initiatives around sustainability identified by the analyst firm were recycling, virtualisation and low energy use hardware.

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