The forces driving new green initiatives for IT departments and enterprise organizations can vary. While some organizations embrace environmental issues as a core part of their business mission, others are incentivized by the business benefits of undertaking green transformations.
In other cases, local or industry regulations are pushing organizations to get into compliance with new rules and standards that support environmental initiatives by controlling energy consumption and waste, and discouraging business practices proven to be detrimental to the environment. Regardless of the reasons your IT department may have committed itself to “green IT” initiatives, any effort to go green will surely involve changes to your data center—especially if you’re still operating off a legacy solution.
While there are many reasons why the traditional data center is incompatible with efficient, sustainable IT operations, legacy solutions must be replaced with cloud or SaaS alternatives if you are serious about embracing green IT at your organization. Read on to learn more about the environmental and business cost of these data centers, and how to address this shortcoming by switching to a green data center.
The High Energy Cost of Traditional Data Centers
Running a data center is incredibly expensive. For many utility companies and co-ops across the country, data centers are massive energy consumers that rank among their top customers, underscoring the relative energy cost of these data centers.
What’s worse—especially for enterprise businesses—is that this energy consumption is incredibly inefficient. Experts estimate that as much as 90 percent of the energy consumed by data centers is wasted and could be eliminated through more efficient management of these data centers.
Physical on-premise data centers are particularly notorious for being inefficient with the energy they use. But there’s growing consensus that cloud-based data centers can offer greater energy efficiency through their economies of scale and the embrace of management strategies that minimize energy waste and reduce energy consumption for each of their clients.
The Business Benefits of Enterprise Green Initiatives
Green IT—and, more broadly, green initiatives spanning an entire enterprise—aren’t motivated solely by executive interest in supporting environmental efforts through the company’s business model and business operations. C-suite decision-makers are increasingly aware of the business benefits and value creation that come with embracing and implementing green initiatives across IT and other operations.
Reduced energy consumption—and its associated costs—are a significant motivator for green initiatives, but this is far from the only type of value creation this strategy offers. Green initiatives can also reap the following business benefits.
- The ability to attract certain clientele and IT partners with a similar investment in green initiatives.
- Reduced business disruptions from regulatory compliance focused on enforcing green regulations.
- Improved talent acquisition and customer retention.
- Long-term value creation from sustainable IT infrastructure.
Whether this green initiative is a primary motivator of IT infrastructure projects, or simply a fringe benefit, this value should be accounted for when making a business case for IT transformation—especially when advocating for resource-intensive projects such as data center migration.
How Green Data Centers Can Support Your Enterprise Mission
While every cloud data center option might be an improvement over the energy consumption of your current legacy solution, not every cloud data center is green by default. If you’re eager to migrate to a data center that embraces and implements a green IT approach, you will want to look for certain criteria that reflect a commitment to green IT infrastructure.
For example, most green data centers reduce energy consumption through optimized, automated approaches to determining, scheduling, and installing various initiatives that maintain and support the data center’s operation. This data center may also optimize its use of energy and water to power and cool its operations, creating cost savings for enterprise clients while also meeting expectations for green IT solutions.
Green data centers may also receive some, or even all, of their energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar—and they may have plans to increase this energy reliance over time, reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources.
As your enterprise takes on the business disruption that comes with migrating its data center, it’s important to consider the role green IT initiatives may play in choosing your new data center home—especially when accounting for your organization’s long-term plans to increase the impact of its green initiatives over time.
Learn more about the benefits of migrating your data center to a cloud or SaaS approach —download our latest guide.