Tuesday, August 5, 2008

US SMBs Waking Up to Green Computing

Are SMBs (small and medium businesses, or companies with up to 999 employees) in the United States concerned about global warming? Does Green IT have any influence on SMB ICT adoption patterns? Do environmental concerns influence what IT SMBs buy and from which vendor?

These are some of the issues that the latest study from New York based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners Inc. focuses on. "US SMBs will see a 17 percent increase in PC shipments - and a whopping 40 percent increase in server shipments - over the next four years," says AMI's New York-based Research Analyst, Vittesh Kalambi. "SMBs are gradually becoming convinced about the positive outcome of Green IT in reducing overall running costs, TCO (total cost of ownership) and increasing savings. As such, SMB bottom-lines are being redefined to include sustainability."

An AMI study points out that over the next 12 months, just over 50 percent of small businesses (SBs, or companies with up to 99 employees) and 91 percent of medium businesses (MBs, or companies with 100-999 employees) intend to purchase PCs (either desktops or notebooks). Green computing is broadly defined as the study and practice of using computing resources efficiently. The primary objective of such a program is to account for "the triple bottom-line". This is an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational and societal success with an aim to cut use of hazardous materials and maximize efficiency of product life while promoting recyclability. Thus, the key driver for SMBs embracing Green PC measures is cost savings.

"The recently concluded G8 summit in Japan brought into focus the environmental concerns affecting the world at large, and more specifically that the US and China are the largest contributors to greenhouse emissions," Mr. Kalambi says. "Thus, reducing the carbon footprint of the nation is increasingly coming under scrutiny. Green IT or green computing offers a number of benefits, including cost reductions."

Modern IT systems rely on a complicated mix of people, networks and hardware. As such, a green computing initiative must be systemic in nature and address increasingly sophisticated problems. Elements of such a solution may comprise items such as end-user satisfaction, management restructuring, regulatory compliance, disposal of electronic waste, telecommuting, and virtualization of server resources, energy use, thin client solutions, and return on investment.

"SMBs are increasingly appreciating the value of going green given the wide range of benefits that accrue from prolonged usage of environmentally friendly products and lifestyles," Mr. Kalambi says. "For most large businesses with extensive IT resources, the primary focus has been data centers. These account for the majority of resources used. SMBs do not have similar scale, but can still be environmentally conscious by opting for green solutions such as EnergyStar rated appliances, low power consuming electronics, blade servers and virtualization technologies, among others."

Here's a peek at some Green IT initiatives:

* Key players such as HP and IBM have now begun to manufacture low power consuming servers and PCs which utilize roughly 66 percent of the power requirement of older systems.
* Blade servers, though still nascent in adoption, are technological breakthroughs in servers which provide the same computing power with much lower power utilization.
* Thin clients have quite a few advantages such as space-savings, easier to secure, and cost reductions due to lower IT management expenses, reduced energy consumption (a typical thin-client uses half the energy of a desktop) and more efficient use of computing resources.
* A basic power management technique on computers can result in substantial energy savings due to their sheer number in the market.
* Recycling is quite an under-leveraged technique for being green. Recycling in the business space can be achieved not just in paper usage, but also in how electronic waste is handled. Paper waste can be minimized by double-sided printing, reusing single side printed sheets of paper and other methods.
For e-waste such as electronic hardware, retailers such BestBuy have an e-waste recycling program for consumers and all their stores have recycling centers for cell phones, batteries, PCs, TVs etc.



steven said...

There is a green PC for SMBs, if not the greenest, its called the V from GreenWorld and it uses 6 watts of power and is solar powered. You can check it out at http://www.greenworldcom.com