Companies seeking to embrace greener practices have a seemingly endless list of technologies from which to choose, from server virtualization to telepresence to EPEAT Gold-rated desktop computers to business intelligence software for streamlining the supply chain. One question well worth exploring is which green technologies are poised to thrive over the long term and deliver the most value to organizations.
In a recent report titled "TechRadar I&O for Professionals: Green IT 1.0 Technologies, Q2 2009," Forrester analyst Doug Washburn addresses the very question. Based on interviews with various industry experts, he discusses the potential short- and long-term success of more than a dozen "green IT 1.0" technologies.
Washburn delineates two approaches to green IT: "For green IT 1.0, organizations seek to reduce the environmental impacts related to the IT asset life cycle, such as toxic chemicals used in the design and manufacture of IT, energy-related carbon emissions from operating IT equipment, and electronic landfill waste from disposing of IT equipment. For green IT 2.0, technology is applied to reduce the environmental impacts deriving from broader business activities, such as energy-related carbon emissions from retail store lighting, fuel-related carbon emissions from truck fleets, or materials waste from product manufacturing." To narrow the scope of the report, Washburn focused only on green IT 1.0 offerings.
The following is a list of seven green IT products and services that Washburn identified as having potential for "significant success" -- and one that will enjoy only minimal success.
Green tech No. 1: Cloud computing services
Not everyone agrees on a definition for cloud computing. Some people define it as an updated version of utility computing, essentially virtual servers available over the Internet. Others argue that anything you can consume outside the firewall is "in the cloud," including conventional outsourcing.
[ Find out what cloud computing really means. ]