Green technology: Is being lean more important than being green?

Infrastructure architecture is difficult at the best of times with a myriad technologies and delivery channels now in play. But in the hard-nosed world of business where everything counts in large amounts, does the drive for sustainability make the ICT decision-making process even more difficult?

“Anytime we get involved in negotiations, sustainability is quite far down the list,” according to Paul Kane, interim sales and marketing manager with datacentre provider, Servecentric.

“We have several different ISO accreditations including ISO14001 for sustainability. But no one asks for that. The one we get asked for the most is the one for data security, ISO27001. The only time sustainability will come into it is when we’re asked about our charges per kW hour,” he said.

Davin Cody, converged infrastructure specialist with HP agrees.

“The green agenda is a nice tick box to have but ultimately it still comes down to the cost to the organisation of procurement and running the environment over its lifespan. And whether that’s in the cloud or on premise, really depends on the organisation’s security policy and cost,” he said.

“When it comes to technology and sustainability, the two help each other in that they can save money and meet the green agenda at the same time. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive,” he said.

Gary Hopwood, general manager with Ricoh Ireland believes that all companies have a stance on corporate responsibility although larger companies tend to have more to lose if they are not acting in a sustainable manner.

“Many organisations make their position clear on sustainability and some even set clear and measurable goals. For example, we set targets across the group at Ricoh which we are currently ahead of. These include reducing CO2 emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 and 87.5 per cent by 2050 from the fiscal 2000 level,” he said.

Servecentric’s main operating parameter is power availability and whereas new clients may have been quoted in the past based on the space they required in the datacentre, it’s now firmly based on their power requirements.

“Sustainability comes into the conversation because if you can save your actual power consumption charges by placing infrastructure in a datacentre, it’s a saving to the company,” said Kane.

“Companies by their nature are there to make money and to go green, just for the sake of it and not to make savings, doesn’t make sense.”

Kane believes that any debate around sustainability has to be framed in the context of cost-savings.

“Every company needs to concentrate on cost and return from the point of view of a business argument. And companies providing green technology need to look at it that way. There has to be a business case for using that technology or having sustainability at the heart of it and the main argument is that it is going to save costs,” he said.

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