From desktop to data centre: SA's green IT revolution

Energy can be utilized inside and outside the data centre

If you're pining over how to go green and reduce your organization's energy consumption, consider how IT can be used to reduce power inside and out of the company walls, according to a South Australia government department CIO.

CIO of South Australia's Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure John Maunder said the state comes with good green credentials, and not just in IT.

South Australia is generating 50 percent of Australia's wind and 40 percent of Australia's solar power, Maunder said, who himself has 17 solar panels on his house and will get 44 cents per kilowatt for the power they put into the grid.

The department's own green IT strategy involves the key areas of videoconferencing, LCD screens and thin clients.

"Videoconferencing is making a difference and we are doing a pilot between our Adelaide and Port Augusta offices," Maunder said. "It saves about $3000 per meeting. We also need to enable staff to work from home."

The department is using Cisco technology across a 4Mbps link. About 100 people, including the CEO, have adopted videoconferencing.

Maunder believes where a government department can make the most impact is with its services to citizens.

"Technology has reached a point where it can provide information to citizens to reduce carbon emissions," he said. "We need to use IT more effectively to control traffic and notify people of road conditions."

Senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan Simon Hayes said data centre operators and CIOs have a real opportunity to be more conservative in how they use energy.

Hayes said Datacom in Sydney is looking at using excess heat from its data centre to heat a nearby swimming pool.

"We're all aware of the effects of climate change and green is really the subject of the moment. Green IT is not a marketing gimmick as there are real cost savings and efficiencies to be gained."

Hayes said large IT organizations can reap direct and significant value by going green.

"The data centre is where CIOs can get quick wins," he said, adding 40 to 50 percent of power consumption in an organization can be attributed to IT.

Data centre adviser at power management company APC MGE David Blumanis said going green is still economically expensive and many CIOs are not knowledgeable in this area.

"The focus will come down on the CIO soon," Blumanis said.

Dimension Data chief technology officer Gerard Florian said whether CIOs understand the scope of the power problem will have an impact on the sense of urgency.

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Rodney Gedda

Techworld Australia

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