April 22, 2011, 6:02 AM — Anyone who has followed the InfoWorld Green 15 since its inception in 2008 will recognize familiar themes among this year's winning entries -- all the more proof that the message of sustainability is proliferating across the IT landscape.
Organizations of various stripes are realizing the value of slashing waste, saving money, and improving their environmental standing, as this year's crop of green IT projects shows. Among school districts, local and state governments, upstarts and stalwarts, clearly the lesson that green IT practices provide measurable return on investment is sinking in.
[ Cut straight to the key news for technology development and IT management with our once-a-day summary of the top tech news. Subscribe to the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. | Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. ]
Virtualization, PC power management, videoconferencing, paperless solutions, e-waste management, and data center efficiency technologies are once again at the center of these exemplary IT initiatives.
But one striking difference about this year's batch should be noted: A wealth of third-party products and services has emerged to help companies jump-start green IT projects. Measuring and managing data center efficiency, launching large-scale recycling efforts, taking advantage of free cooling, and going paperless -- vendors are working to meet the needs of IT organizations seeking to capitalize on sustainable practices. That's good news for organizations that don't have the internal technical know-how to build such systems themselves.
That's not to say companies aren't innovating on their own to push the green envelope. Among this year's Green 15 winners, Intel's NUMA-Booster tool helped the company claim significantly higher performance from its servers. Fujitsu, meanwhile, devised an in-house tool to create a more optimal, energy-efficient layout for its data center.
Despite the increasing availability of full-featured green-tech products and services, green IT is still not fully plug-and-play. Reaping the fruits of green IT investments is still hard work, with many organizations struggling to get buy-in and participation from management and end-users alike. As with previous Green 15 projects, this year's group has proven successful in large part because they have managed to engage the whole organization to support their endeavors.