InfoWorld announced its first Green 15 Award winners in April 2008, right before the financial collapse. You might think that, since then, the idea of sustainable IT would have gone the way of many other environmental matters -- that is, taken a backseat to economic issues.
But going green is more important than ever, if the entries we've already received for our fifth annual Green IT Awards are any guide. If your company has a green initiative and you haven't already nominated it, I encourage you to fill out our nomination form in advance of the Feb. 28 deadline and see if an InfoWorld 2012 Green IT Award is in your future (award winners will be announced in late April).
[ Check out InfoWorld's 2011 Green 15 Awards and see what it takes to be a winner. | You know about Moore's Law -- Koomey's law charts a similar trajectory for the reduction of power consumption. | See "Little machines and the future of the data center" by InfoWorld editor in chief Eric Knorr. ]
The reason for the green IT trend's continuing strength is clear, says InfoWorld's Ted Samson, who created the award program. Sustainable IT has always been primarily about power conservation, so when you save money on energy, you get the green halo for free. And today, energy costs loom so large relative to other data center expenses, you'd have to be crazy not to prioritize energy efficiency.
A few months ago, Ted wrote about Koomey's Law -- named after data center power guru Jonathan Koomey -- which states that the power efficiency of computing doubles about every 18 months, the same rate at which Moore's Law predicted integrated circuit transistor density would double. Obviously, there's a connection: Greater density means lower power consumption -- or more computing power per watt. However, as Ted notes, energy efficiency depends not only on hardware, but also on the efficiency of the code that runs on it.
The variable nature of workloads has left the industry groping for a standard by which to measure and compare data center power efficiency. The excellent Computerworld article "Green IT: In search of an energy yardstick" by Mary Brandel runs through the pros and cons of today's emerging standards; consider it recommended reading for anyone interested in data center power issues.