informa
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Commentary

Green Is A 'Nice To Have'

2009 is here and for IT, it's ugly. Storage projects will need to be justified with near instant ROI's. Over the next several entries we will look at projects you can undertake which will deliver that near-instant ROI, but first let's look at what Green IT's new role is during the economic downturn.
2009 is here and for IT, it's ugly. Storage projects will need to be justified with near instant ROI's. Over the next several entries we will look at projects you can undertake which will deliver that near-instant ROI, but first let's look at what Green IT's new role is during the economic downturn.The problem with power savings as a cost justification is that it takes time to generate the ROI; many times, it takes years. That said, power efficiency is still an important consideration, but it's not going to win over the hearts of those in control of the budget like some of the optimization and efficiency projects that we will talk about in the future. Saving power is nice; saving money is better.

Green will be the third or fourth priority when making a storage consideration. Solutions that provide some power efficiencies also will need to do more than just be power efficient. An example of an optimization project might be implementing a real-time compression tool like Storwize's solution or NetApp's Deduplication (or both) can claim greenness because they reduce the amount of storage you need, but the primary reason you buy a solution like these is it can significantly delay future storage purchases. Another example might be that the primary motivation to use an efficiency solution like Tek-Tools' Profiler suite to truly allow you to do more with less. Then with the solution in-house you can use it to identify underutilized servers and storage, rebalance those loads and power off unneeded equipment, but the cost justification is primarily increased efficiency. In short it is all about instant ROI.

While green is not dead its role has changed; for the next few years it is a nice to have, not a have to have. Products need to be selected by their ability to deliver immediate cost savings and efficiency improvements.

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George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.