Downturn driving green IT into data centers

By Tom Jowitt, Techworld |  Green IT, data center

The recession is driving green IT into data centres, and organisations that are facing continued pressure on their budgets and data centre resource, are now actively investigating software and outsourcing alternatives.

So says analyst house Datamonitor in its Can Green IT Bloom in an Economic Downturn, report published today.

"The global economic recession has spurred a paradigm shift in the way organisations evaluate, budget for and deploy green IT", said the report's author, Rhonda Ascierto, senior analyst at Datamonitor.

The report said current green IT investments are being driven by compliance with environmental legislation and cost savings. In particular, the report suggested 'green IT' that also eliminates the need for capital expenditure (capex), such as data centre virtualisation, data centre design and layout, and asset lifecycle management, has become increasingly important as IT budgets remain constrained.

Indeed, Datamonitor says that its research shows IT budgets are likely to remain flat in 2009. This view was backed up when Gartner recently confirmed the gloomy outlook for the IT industry.

"IT budgets will be largely flat in 2009, with only a slight improvement in 2010," Ascierto told Techworld. "IT is saying it is now all about optimising existing resources, rather adding or building new data centres."

Interestingly, Ascierto believes there will be a slowdown in data centre builds, with a corresponding increase in the use of green IT, with virtualisation the main beneficiary.

"Data centre virtualisation is becoming more holistic, whereby various assets, including servers, storage, communications infrastructure, and business applications, are being virtualised across a pool of data centre hardware," she said.

She feels that organisations that are facing critical limitations with their existing data centres, such as a shortage of floor or rack space, are now looking at options such as IT leasing, managed services, virtualisation, cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Ascierto also believes that business applications will start evolving. "Cloud computing will absolutely see an increase in one to five years because of constrained IT budgets," she said. "Business applications are the next frontier of data centre virtualisation, as applications will themselves become virtualised."

And Ascierto was also clear that the ROI model for green IT is now compulsory and much shorter. "What has really shifted nowadays is the ROI model of green IT," she said.

"Before the downturn, enterprises had a vague notion of what ROI green IT would deliver," she said. "It was not necessarily quantified, and there was not a lot of disciplined return on investments. But in today's environment, those vague ROI notions have gone, and all capex, and increasingly opex (operating expenditure), has to be justified because of constrained IT budgets."

"Vendors are now much more focused on cost efficiencies and shorter ROI time frames," she said. "Typically, they used to be content with a ROI in three to five years, but now it is 12 months."

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