Corporate Data Centers: Are They Really Destroying the Environment?

What’s a CIO to do when a fellow business executive or board member comes up and starts quoting a recent a New York Times article on the evils of data centers, asking just how the IT department can justify the environmental ruin it’s allegedly visiting upon the earth via  data centers?

John Tuccillo, president of The Green Grid and global VP of industry, government, and global alliances at Schneider Electric, says that IT executives can honestly point to significant progress in data centers the last few years: “As a people we expect the services of the data center,” said Tuccillo. “Governments around the world are improving GDP through more efficient data centers. We should look at how the IT industry is working transparently among peers and with governments and private industry around the world to get energy efficiencies not seen in any other industry.”

Datacenters save trees

David S. Hale, IT director at American Medical Depot in King of Prussia, Pa., says that he finds a comparison a useful way to start the energy conversation. “I would go back to an analogy I use for a lot of people: When they complain about how long something is taking on their computer, I compare it to the time required to do it all by paper,” said Hale. “Think about all the waste paper that would be required if we were not using computers. The waste would be greater if we weren’t using the computers.”

When it comes to compelling points, though, John Pflueger, principal environmental strategist at Dell, says that while the arguments can be complex, the tools to begin the discussion are available to every IT department. He explained: “It’s a hard question to answer. Almost all IT organizations are going to be able to answer in a way that eases the concerns of the executive. The Green Grid has had a mission, since 2007, to improve the energy efficiency of data centers and in the last year that’s expanded into water and carbon footprint. Every data center should endeavor to understand what its impacts are and be able to measure the impact and be able to track and show improvement over time. From day one of the Green Grid’s public existence we’ve been in favor of organizations implementing Green Grids metrics and tracking them.”

For more, read the complete article Are Data centers Killing the Whales?

About the Author

Curtis Franklin, Jr., is Executive Editor of, a UBM Tech community.

Curtis Franklin Jr.
Curtis Franklin Jr. has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He contributes to a number of technology-industry publications including Tech Page One, Information Week, ChannelWeb, and on subjects ranging from mobile enterprise computing to enterprise security and wireless networking. He is online community manager for the Interop conference and is a senior contributing analyst for the InfoWorld Test Center where he focuses on network infrastructure, wireless networking, and security.
Curtis Franklin Jr.
Tags: Corporate Responsibility,Data Center,Downtime,Storage,Technology,Virtualization
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