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New factors give Green IT a red light

Nearly half of all Canadian data centres have gone green, but the rest are far behind

According to Symantec Corp.’s most recent worldwide survey, titled Green Data Report 2007, almost half of all Canadian data centres have gone green, but the report shows those outside of the country are still lagging behind when it comes to adopting green practices and products.

The report was conducted in September by Symantec as a supplement to its previously released 2007 study entitled State of the Data Center. The survey consisted of responses from over 800 data centre managers across 14 different countries, representing Global 2000 companies, other large companies, as well as public sector institutions. Sean Derrington, director of storage management for Symantec, said that although 71 per cent of the companies that responded are considering the move towards adopting a green strategy, roughly half (46 per cent) are in the discussion, planning or trial stage, whereas only 14 per cent of them have actually started to implement one.

“The thing with green initiatives is that they are challenging to implement,” Derrington said. “Companies are looking towards things such as server consolidation to server virtualization, to replacing old equipment with more energy efficient products, and the list goes on,” he adds.

And it’s not just that companies want to be more environmentally sound that has caused some companies to move towards becoming green. Derrington says it’s also due in part to the increasing cost of electricity that has forced data centre managers to re-evaluate moving towards energy efficient solutions. Other factors also attributing to a move to a greener environment also include cost savings benefits as well as pressures to maintain business service level agreements.

The adoption of green practices and products also varies from region to region, with only about 29 per cent of companies in the U.S. having them, whereas the Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) regions account for about 60 per cent and around 55 per cent of companies in Europe have green policies in place.

Derrington says the green movement that companies are just now starting to take notice in, is a great opportunity for anyone involved in the channel, especially for those who deal in Canada, where the report found almost half of all Canadian organizations have some sort of green policy in place.

“As IT organizations are starting to discuss and are beginning to embrace this initiative, there’s a real opportunity for the channel on how they can help make companies [greener],” he said.

While respondents stated various approaches on how they are doing their part to become green, server consolidation, server virtualization and replacing old equipment with energy-efficient products were the top three.

Derrington also said software plays a key strategy in the green corporate movement. He mentions data centres that have green policies in place are more likely to implement server virtualization, server consolidation, data deduplication, or storage virtualization, just to name a few practices.

He says from Symantec’s end, the company is working to become green by reducing the amount of physical packages it produces and replacing them with electronic methods, such as delivering license keys to customers electronically.

The channel can take advantage of Symantec’s Veritas line up of storage products, Derrington mentions, which can open up further opportunities.