Why Green IT Will Slash IT Jobs

Why Green IT Will Slash IT Jobs

Green IT is thriving, even in the midst of a major recession, because when it comes to data centers and computing, what's good for the environment is also good for the bottom line. But there's evidence that Green IT may also mean a reduction in the number of IT jobs. Here's why.

Because of the dire economy, IT in 2009 is looking to cut costs as much as possible. Rick Villars, an analyst at IDC, told Computerworld:
There's an incredible focus this year on driving efficiency. What this means is reducing capital expenditures and trying to cut operational expenses wherever possible.
What does that mean, in practical terms? Here's what Computerworld concludes:
Analyst firms predict that IT shops will turn their budgets toward cost-cutting technologies -- specifically cloud computing, server and storage consolidation, and virtualization -- that will help reduce capital expenditures.
All three of those technologies --- cloud computing, consolidation, and virtualization --- offer payoffs for Green IT, particularly consolidation and virtualization. If you've got fewer servers and less hardware, you have a much smaller carbon footprint. Cloud computing helps as well, by reducing your data center needs. Overall this is good for the environment because big data centers that offer cloud computing services, such as those run by Google and Microsoft, typically are quite efficient when it comes to the use of energy.

So clearly, by reducing capital costs and ongoing expenses, a company's bottom line is helped, as is the environment.

The news isn't so rosy for those who work in IT, though. David Williams, an analyst at Gartner, told Computerworld, for example, that the cost-reducing technologies, "eats away at the role of the data center manager. It's a bit unrealistic to say that IT will be thrown away, but it's going to be a harder job than ever."

It's not just the data center manager at risk, but lower-level IT workers as well. One of the key benefits of consolidation and virtualization is that there's less hardware to manage, and what's there can be managed more easily. So there will be less demand for people to manage and maintain servers and other IT equipment.

In addition, as enterprises outsource IT to cloud computing, overall IT staff can be reduced as well. Don't believe it? Then take the word of someone who's been there. Jerry Skaare, who has been IT director for several large hotel chains, told Computerworld:
The writing is on the wall. Small and midsize data centers won't exist very long as companies take a look at why they're managing data centers themselves.
The upshot? What's good news for the environment may be bad news for those who work in IT.