6 Predictions for Green IT in 2012

Improving the efficiency of IT tops the list for enterprises as they go into 2012, according to Craig Symons, the principal analyst at Forrester Research. Symons wrote, in his 2012 IT Budget Planning Guide for CIOs: "While 2011 started with a more robust IT spending environment, many organizations began to pull back midyear, and 2012 plans are expected to be more conservative given the high degree of uncertainty. [...] Efficiency and consolidation are top IT priorities"

Despite this, worldwide IT spending is set to reach $1.8 trillion in 2012 (6.9 percent growth), according to research firm IDC, so how should CIOs prepare for an Efficient 2012? Here are some predictions for the year ahead.

1. Greenwashing is dead.

Greenwashing has been hung out to dry by efficient IT solutions that actually measure, report and save energy, CO2 consumption and associated costs. The IT market has reached a level of maturity that means it is no longer possible to market a solution as a green IT solution when it isn't really a green IT solution without being pretty quickly found out.

There is a distinct difference between solutions that actually save energy and those that say they do, and that's found in the accuracy of the reporting that's built into the tool (if at all).

2012 will see the emergence of Efficient IT, not only as a bona fide market segment but also as an emerging trend. The trillions of dollars that are spent on IT each year are a millstone around the neck of every IT department in the world. CIOs realise that they need to reduce the amount of IT dollars spent on maintenance and hardware/ software energy consumption.

2. DCIM will come into its own in 2012.

Armed with the premise that effective use of such technology can reduce server energy consumption by up to 82 percent, data center managers have been investing heavily in virtualization technology. However, there's a catch: These savings are not a foregone conclusion and can only be realised if virtual servers are carefully managed. Otherwise, your virtual server environment could sprawl out of control and the potential for dwindling savings or increased spend is amplified.

Efficient running of a data center has been at the back of many server managers' minds as they worked to resolve the virtualization conundrum. The advent of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) technology will help data center managers bring IT Efficiency into the equation.

To identify the true business value derived from each kilowatt of energy used you need the right tools that find unused servers which in turn, will inform your decision to decommission them with confidence. Useful Work analysis is being lauded by many as a viable alternative to PUE and a radical, new approach to application workload efficiency. This is worth looking into.

DCIM is a nascent space which will come into its own in 2012. In fact, analysts at the 451 Group predict that the DCIM market is growing and will multiply by a factor of five between now and 2015 . Not surprising in the age of austerity where cost optimization is key, since DCIM technology is said to reduce operating expenses by as much as 20 percent.

3. Upgrading operating systems will only be the first step to greater PC energy savings.

Windows power schemes -- yes, even those expected in Windows 8 -- are not enough. One of the main focal points of Windows 8 is reduced power consumption and this is commendable. However, scheduled, intelligent power downs have proven to be much more effective than built-in power schemes. Most energy -- and related cost savings - will be achieved from hardware efficiency.

There are hundreds of million PCs out there that consume vast amounts of energy. The challenge is compounded by the fact that, given the choice, almost half of end users turn off power-scheme-based sleep timers because they get in the way of their working day.