Interview with Dave O'Hara of Green Datacenter Blog


Robert Elsenpeter, one of the co-authors of our new book, “Green IT: Reduce Your Information System's Environmental Impact While Adding to the Bottom Line” recently spoke with Dave O’Hara of Green Datacenter Blog. Here, in Robert's own words, is the fruit of his conversation with Dave:

With the advent of Green IT there are numerous industries and jobs that will be created. Perhaps one of the first will be the Green Sherpa -- someone to guide you to the summit of your Green IT mountain.

I had the great opportunity to speak with one such Sherpa last week -- Dave O’Hara. If you have been considering greening your IT department, a guy like Dave is the person to talk to. Dave specializes in consulting on Green IT matters, and is the sort of person that can help guide you through the process.

While you can certainly take the initiative and do all your organization’s greening on your own, if you aren’t sure where to start, a consultant can help you make thoughtful changes.

Dave said that his consulting company (you can read his blogs at was a natural extension of his work experience. He worked on Windows power management for Microsoft, and then worked on the hardware side for Apple and HP power supplies. One of the most interesting things he had to share is where the biggest field is in terms of adopting green processes. I went into it with the mindset that the biggest adopters would be chain stores, like Wal Mart or something like that. Not so. It turns out the biggest adopters are colleges and universities.

As we talked, the reasons turned out to be real no-brainers:

  • Colleges and universities have to practice what they preach. If they are push for environmental responsibility, the college’s datacenter can’t be consuming more power than a small city.
  • The current crop of students are very environmentally conscious, so they push for and support green initiatives.
  • Colleges and universities tend to lead the way in this sort of activity, plus they willingly share their information with the world.

I also asked Dave where he sees the biggest obstacle to greening an IT department, and he observed that people are set in their ways. So in order to make serious change, there has to be a buy in that these changes are necessary. The IT manager has to realize that half a dozen redundant systems are not necessary and that the datacenter doesn’t have to be so cold that you can hang meat in it.

This ties back into the prevalence of colleges and universities being big Green IT adopters. Those processes are going to change as students move into “the real world” and start making their own impact on corporate culture.

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