Where is green IT heading in 2013?

Green IT to become a top priority for CIOs next year

Analysts predict an uptake in trigeneration technology and data centre infrastructure management tools, and that there will be more consolidation of IT infrastructure, more sophisticated monitoring and reporting of energy use, and driving down energy costs will become a top priority for CIOs next year.

Gartner research vice president Simon Mingay said more organisations will make use of trigeneration technology to power data centres more efficiently.

“We anticipate seeing more use of onsite power generation for new data centres – specifically trigeneration, most commonly based on gas turbines in Australia and Europe, though we have seen some interesting large scale deployments using fuel cells in the US (Apple and eBay),” he said.

“Trigeneration is a mature technology, but has not been used extensively for data centres anywhere in the world. But it is attractive for data centres because of the ability to make use of the heat generated onsite for cooling purposes. National Australia Bank is a good example today. This is an area where Australia could lead because of the high emissions factor of the electricity and the carbon tax.”

There will also be more use of data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) tools, Mingay said, and more organisations will start to become conscious of the costs of running their IT infrastructure with full power all of the time.

“I think we’ll also see more use of data centre infrastructure management tools – helping organisations to do better capacity management and energy management.

“The challenge in 2013 will be less technological and more behavioural, in that old habits die hard – data centre management still like to run everything full throttle 100 per cent of the time. That will begin to change… Maybe 2013 is the year we start to see that as organisations starts to make more extensive use of technology to increase efficiency.”

IDC head of research Matthew Oostveen said more organisations will consolidate their applications and hardware infrastructure to help drive down energy costs. He said this could partly influence the trend of more organisations moving their IT infrastructure from on-premise to off-premise next year.

“The reality is that it is very expensive to run your own data centre because of the inefficiencies that small organisations have. And when we talk about a data centre it can also be a server closet, a server room, a remote or a branch office – all of the smaller branch offices are being consolidated at the moment and put into larger facilities and these larger facilities, typically run by professional data centre organisations, have economies at scale that end user organisations just aren’t able to realise.”

Deloitte Consulting technology leader Robert Hillard said there will be more advanced ways of monitoring and reporting of how energy is used in an organisation and understanding of IT’s carbon footprint.

“That’s necessary because as we move to more of a distributed technology footprint it’s not just about data centres owned by the organisation but there’s a wide range of services that are being consumed more widely. It’s natural that we need more sophistication in the reporting that we have in order to be able to get a true picture of the carbon footprint being caused by the organisation,” he said.

Green IT will become a top priority for CIOs and organisations next year now that the carbon tax has taken effect, Mingay said. With rising energy costs, he said organisations will look to the CIO to help manage and drive down these costs.

“We find ourselves at a point in time when energy security and price volatility have risen dramatically up the ladder of corporate risk and priority, and will continue to do so,” Mingay said.

“The ripple effects associated with the convergence of the underlying issues of escalating resource costs; increased contention for resources; climate change; changing consumer, investor and stakeholder perceptions; and creeping regulation will increasingly filter through to most organisations.”

Telsyte senior analyst Rodney Gedda also believes that driving down energy costs will become part of how CIOs can deliver value for organisations next year.

“Next year there will be an increasing amount of options for improving the ‘carbon footprint’ of various IT services. The carbon tax is beginning to take hold and energy prices are rising, so we can expect green IT decision to be more cost-driven in 2013.”

Follow Rebecca Merrett on Twitter: @Rebecca_Merrett

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Other trends to watch out for in 2013:

Tags green ITRodney GeddaMatthew OostveentelsyteSimon Mingaydata centre infrastructure managementtech trends 2013GartnerIDCcloud infrastructurecarbon taxIT consolidationDeloitte Consultingenergy efficiencyRobert Hillardtrigeneration

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