Green IT outgrows the box

Green IT has evolved well beyond hardware components and datacenter walls

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Importantly, though, as green IT evolves and gains mainstream acceptance, it's finding value in business arenas beyond the datacenter. Vendors are also rolling out IT products and services aimed at helping companies achieve green objectives at all levels of their organization. To quote SAP's chief sustainability officer Peter Graf: "Green IT is usually positioned as reducing the energy consumption of the datacenter. I'm not dismissing it, but the real opportunity is in logistics, in distribution, and production."

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By no coincidence, SAP released its BusinessObjects Sustainability Performance Management suite just last month, part of the company's major public push around sustainable practices. The package is aimed at helping companies achieve multiple eco-oriented purposes, such as measuring carbon emissions, tracking energy consumption, managing risks, and uncovering costs savings -- all based on real-time or near-real-time information.

SAP isn't the only fish in the sea of green IT rolling out sophisticated tools for managing environmental initiatives companywide. Last year, for example, CA released its ecoSoftware line, which includes ecoMeter and ecoGovernance, designed to keep organizations focused on sustainability initiatives. The ecoMeter software is designed to gather data in real time and from a number of sources: IT infrastructure, PDUs, backup generators, PCs, utilities -- even washing machines. ecoGovernance is aimed at helping organizations plan and track sustainability initiatives, while ensuring said projects align with the organization's overall green objectives.

Similarly, Enviance provides SaaS solutions for managing environmental and CSR data and requirements. Drawing on Web services, sensors, APIs, and, as needed, manual input, Enviance System helps gather environmental data in real time from industrial equipment, hardware, ERP systems, databases, electricity meters, water pumps, fuel racks, and many other sources.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has its Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Dynamics AX ERP package. The dashboard is designed to track energy consumption, GHG emissions, and other green-oriented stats.

Green IT has indeed come a long way over the past couple years, proving to be far more than a datacenter fad. Forrester predicts green IT will continue to play a central role in company's planning and execution of their corporate sustainability strategies: "Since sustainability requires coordination across many corporate stakeholders, and information gathering, analysis, and reporting are central elements of that coordination, we have long held that IT must be heavily involved in corporate sustainability strategy; this data indicates that IT practitioners at many companies agree."

This story, "Green IT outgrows the box," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in green IT at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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