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Power-hungry IT industry is "unsustainable"
Rising energy costs could eat up a third of IT budgets, warns Gartner...
By Andy McCue

Power hungry hardware and rising global fuel prices could lead to energy costs eating up more than a third of IT budgets within the next five years, according to Gartner.

With 'green IT' high on the agenda for both CIOs and tech vendors, Gartner claims electrical power consumption is just "the tip of a melting iceberg for an IT industry that is currently unsustainable".

Instead, Gartner warns the IT industry must look beyond power to broader issues such as limiting carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, using materials from renewable resources, recycling materials and reusing heat from data centres.

Rakesh Kumar, research VP at Gartner, said the potential to reduce costs is currently the most compelling incentive for organisations to "think and act green" when it comes to technology.

Large organisations spend between four and eight per cent - and sometimes as much as 10 per cent - of their IT budget on energy and Gartner predicts this will rise by up to four times within the next five years.

Kumar said: "Organisations are increasingly deploying more computing power. These systems require considerably more power and cooling than the last generation of hardware. Because global energy prices are rising, there is a significant increase in data centre operational budgets. This will put pressure on the CIO to act, and is placing power consumption high up the IT agenda."

Environmental pressure will also force organisations to act, with data centres wasting almost two-thirds of the energy they use to cool equipment, and three-quarters of the 512 million PCs that will be disposed of in the next five years ending up in landfill sites rather than being recycled.

Kumar said this kind of consumption and wastage in the IT industry is not sustainable. "This is bad for the environment and bad for business," he said. "Enlightened consumers and enterprise buyers will increasingly vote with their wallets, choosing more sustainable products and services from suppliers with environmentally conscious corporate social responsibility programmes."

Gartner's advice is for CIOs to start investigating short- and long-term options to reduce power consumption and associated carbon emissions of their data centres and other IT equipment.

Steve Prentice, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said: "The time is rapidly approaching when CIOs and IT vendors will need to act fundamentally differently to meet business, societal and legislative demands for not just environmentally friendly but sustainable products and services."

Source:, SME Director

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