Green computing as a way to reduce IT operational costs

NEW tenders for information technology (IT) initiatives across Asia Pacific are increasingly incorporating “green” IT standards, said Citrix Systems product marketing manager (Application Networking Group, Pacific) Kunaciilan Nallappan.

He said the trend indicated that organisations were becoming cost conscious and looking towards green computing as a way to reduce their IT operational costs.

Wikipedia defines green IT or green computing as the study and practice of using computing resources efficiently.

While IT investments should be viewed as enablers to business growth, it can also be a huge cost structure if not managed well.

“What we mean by green IT is to reduce the carbon footprint of data centres,” Kunaciilan said, citing power and cooling as primary contributors to the high costs of running data centres.

By reducing the number of servers in a data centre, he said there could be exponential savings in terms of infrastructure costs.

Kunaciilan Nallappan

Verticals such as telecommunications, finance, insurance and transportation are prone to high IT cost structures because of their large branch networks and customer bases, which in turn requires heavy investments in servers and data centres.

Given the current business climate, which has been impacted by high oil and food prices, businesses are bound to review their cost structures and identify areas where operational expenditures can be reduced further.

Citrix recently conducted a green IT poll with attendees of the Citrix App Delivery Conference 2008 in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The respondents comprised IT decision makers from medium sized companies and multinational corporations.

The findings revealed that 51% of Malaysian companies have taken green computing into consideration in their IT initiatives in the past year.

The US-based firm said nearly all of the Malaysian respondents (91%) viewed virtualisation as a key way for their company to go green in their IT initiatives, while 70% viewed green IT as both a cost saving measure and part of their corporate social responsibility.

“Consciousness is there, but I think Malaysia, India and some countries in Asean haven't crossed that chasm to feel the pain of adding IT infrastructure as they are still in the high growth phase of IT investments, unlike Australia and Japan, where operational expenditure outweighs capital expenditure,” Kunaciilan said.

He said countries like Japan and Australia tend to lead in green IT initiatives due to various programmes by governments and g reen non government organisations.

“Governments generally take the lead as the drivers for green IT. Regulations often play a big role in driving compliance,” he said, adding that as businesses expanded globally, there would be a need for them to consolidate their applications in data centres.

Kunaciilan, who is responsible for key product marketing strategies and programmes in Australia/New Zealand, Asean, South Korea, Japan, Greater China and India, opined that it was important to take into consideration capacity planning when embarking on green IT.

Businesses, he said should take the time to understand the technologies that would enable them to scale their IT capacity without scaling IT infrastructure.

Citrix specialises in application delivery infrastructure, with a focus on software and services specialised in virtualisation and remote access software for delivering applications over a network and the Internet.

Its customers include 100% of the Fortune 100 companies and 98% of the Fortune Global 500.

Kunaciilan said virtualisation was just one of the many end to end application delivery solutions the company provided.

“Customers that have used our technologies have been able to potentially increase their server efficiency by as much as 30% to 50%,” he said, adding that application virtualisation could also save businesses up to 30% in bandwidth usage costs.

Malaysia contributes about 20% to Citrix's overall revenue in the Asean region. The company has presence in the transportation, manufacturing and finance sectors and its customer base to-date stands at 552.

Going forward, the company expects to see traction stemming from the hospitality and medical tourism sectors.

“The drive for compliance and security will be a big push for our solutions,” Kunaciilan said, adding that Asean and India offered strong growth opportunities, especially in application delivery infrastructure.

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