IT sector CO2 emissions equal to airline industry.

The ICT industry worldwide accounts for 2pc of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – equal to that of the aviation industry – which analyst firm Gartner warns is unsustainable.

The 2pc of CO2 emissions that the ICT industry is responsible for includes the in-use phase of PCs, servers, cooling, fixed and mobile telephony, local area networks, office telecoms and printers.

As well as a social responsibility issue for the global ICT sector, its environmental impact will also become a business issue due to intense media coverage making environmentalists out of millions of people and this could affect buying decisions.

Here at Green ISP, we have been trying to raise the awareness of such issues since 2002/3 and have been doing our best to act in ways that reduce our impact on the environment.

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have unveiled two servers designed to reduce power consumption and deliver dramatic improvements in performance and performance per watt for enterprise customers


What to do?

New technology can help, though. Virtualisation, coupled with a comprehensive infrastructure management system, can create a framework that gives IT chiefs the option to power-down certain systems.

Despite the advantages that virtualisation offers, many enterprises still run infrastructures built on the inefficient one-server-per-application model. However, a more flexible approach is being advocated by a number of vendors. HP, for example, is promoting its NonStop high-availability server as a "state database engine" that can underpin an almost limitless range of cheap Linux servers. The NonStop engine holds data about the current state of every server so that, if one fails, its state can be reloaded onto a spare machine, and the status quo is maintained.

And then there are application virtualisation tools such as Softricity's SoftGrid technology, which pushes just the application code needed to run any one task off the server and out onto the desktop PC. That way, there is no need to load the whole application in either location. Though SoftGrid is targeted at Microsoft desktop PC environments for now, the technology should in theory scale to a state engine/racks of servers model in the future.

Combined, these technologies could enable IT departments to save money on both energy and hardware, while providing them with far greater operational flexibility.

May/June 2007