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Using Green IT To Get Out Of The Red And Into The Black

Today’s combination of dwindling natural resources, economic uncertainty, and the growing threat of global warming underscores the urgent need to embrace “being green” – or, acting in a more environmentally responsible manner.

Many individuals feel strongly enough about this issue to make what they consider necessary sacrifices. They’re willing to either pay a premium or deprive themselves, all for the sake of being green.

Business decision makers, however, have been slower to embrace environmentally friendly practices, mistakenly assuming that “greening” their companies is costly, and thus bad for business.

Such assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. If done smartly, adopting green business practices can help companies become more profitable, and more efficient. Nowhere are the potential benefits of a green strategy more compelling than in the data center.

A green strategy can help data center operators “unlock a hidden data center” within their existing facilities with a recipe for power and cooling that can prove to be a solid investment not only in the environment, but in their businesses as well.

One good place to start is upgrading to power-efficient servers. A customer’s up-front investment for more energy-efficient servers can typically be offset within months by the energy cost savings.

Virtualization also is key. Deploying virtualization software allows each server to run multiple applications, squeezing more out of existing servers while enabling data center operators to further benefit from server consolidation.

In addition, an IT vendor’s infrastructure consulting services organization can help analyze the physical layout of the power and cooling systems and suggest ways to get more out of existing resources.

The act of greening a data center forces a company to pay closer attention to not just what its data center produces, but also what it consumes. Ultimately, the company will cut its operational costs by reducing what it spends on electricity and running its IT department. And, because data centers are such huge consumers of power, a greener data center means a greener company. Additionally, IT can emerge from a greening effort lauded as a major contributor to the bottom line.

So, the decision to green a data center can be an easy one. The truth is, if your data center isn’t green, you’re wasting your money. Or, more to the point, greening your data center will help you to get further into the black. And those are terms any executive team can appreciate.

Albert Esser, Ph.D., serves as vice president for data center infrastructure at Dell.

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