Press Releases

Breaking the wall: Green IT

Sarah Greenwood, Manager, Government Relations Europe, Middle East and Africa, Symantec: Tuesday, August 1st, 2008 | 10:00 am

Walls can be torn down, Senator Obama reminded us in his Berlin speech last week. Certainly a prevalent theme in the history of European politics. However, it did remind me of another wall recently torn down in European politics, that of economic productivity versus environment protection. These have traditionally been regarded as irreconcilable issues on the European political landscape, each fenced in by its own paradigm. That wall has now collapsed under the pressure of climate change and rising energy costs, unveiling a common goal for a sustainable European economy.

This is illustrated by Europe's goal to cut its carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 as part of its long-term commitment to a sustainable, highly energy-efficient and low greenhouse gas emitting economy. Also, ICT's role as enabler for energy efficiency has been recognized by the European Commission in its latest communication on May 13th.

Symantec's story, which we shared with the European Commission last week, provides a good example of how software can be a conduit of energy efficiency by helping reduce Data centers' power bulimia, a chronically inescapable fact that businesses deal with and has an impact on the overall economy. Businesses see an increasing share in their IT budget eaten up by power costs whilst the share of global power consumption of data centers continues to grow substantially.

Software can mitigate the energy consumption of hardware by rationalizing energy requirements throughout the entire IT infrastructure from desktop to data center. Data deduplication technology can reduce the disk-based requirements for backup. Desktops can be equipped with automated power-down settings for when they are idle. Servers can be virtualized and consolidated. Storage can be more efficiently managed by software which discovers unused storage and manages storage tiering and deduplication. Finally, data centers can use virtualization and consolidation, considerably reducing the demand for power and cooling. As a result, software can drive down energy cost for data centers whilst their efficiency is improved.

As Senator Obama's campaign rolls on asking American to vote for, and believe, in change, the question for Europeans is how to change things to turn EU green policy goals into reality, and in so doing, how to avoid building new walls across the globe with differing or redundant environment standards.