Symantec Study: Green IT Now “Essential” IT Practice

Green IT budgets rising; IT willing to pay more up-front for energy-efficient solution

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Symantec Corp. announced the findings of its 2009 Worldwide Green IT Report, a follow up to the Green Data Center report released in late 2007. Included in the findings: a shift from implementing “green” technologies primarily for cost reduction purposes to a more balanced awareness of also improving the organization’s environmental standing.

Ninety-seven percent of respondents state they are at least discussing a green IT strategy; 45 percent have already implemented green IT initiatives. IT decision makers are increasingly justifying green IT solutions by more than cost and IT efficiency benefits. Respondents cited key drivers as reducing electricity consumption (90 percent), reducing cooling costs (87 percent), and corporate pressure to be “green” (86 percent). Furthermore, 83 percent of respondents are now responsible or cross-charged for the electricity consumed in the data center, bringing visibility and accountability to bear on the ultimate consumer of these resources.

“Over the past 12 months, IT has emerged as a new driving force in implementing green IT -- not only for energy savings benefits, but also as a result of widespread desire to implement environmentally responsible practices,” said Jose Iglesias, vice president of Global Solutions at Symantec Corporation. “The pendulum has swung both ways and IT is now taking a balanced approach that is more integral to an organization’s ‘green’ strategy, proven by the fact that the vast majority of respondents are now responsible for the energy costs of their data center.”

IT executives report a significant increase in green IT budgets: 73 percent expect an increase in green IT budgets over the next 12 months, and 19 percent expect increases of more than 10 percent. The typical respondent reported spending $21 million to $27 million on data center electricity.

At the same time, IT is willing to pay a premium for energy-efficient products. Two-thirds of respondents said they would pay at least 10 percent more; 41 percent are willing to pay at least 20 percent more. Additionally, 89 percent of respondents said IT product efficiency is either important or very important.

As organizations continue to adopt programs and practices to drive environmental responsibility throughout the enterprise, IT is increasingly important to the broader enterprise “green” efforts. Perhaps the strongest indicator, 83 percent of IT departments report they are now responsible or cross-charged for electricity, providing a strong motivator for IT to reduce energy costs.

Furthermore, 89 percent think IT should play a very or extremely significant role in ‘green’ efforts and 94 percent have a corporate green advocate, with more than one-fifth focusing exclusively on IT initiatives.

IT professionals are regularly deploying several key initiatives for green IT purposes. Replacing old equipment was the most popular strategy, with 95 percent reporting new energy efficient equipment as part of their strategy, followed by monitoring power consumption (94 percent), server virtualization (94 percent), and server consolidation (93 percent). Additionally, more than half (57 percent) of respondents see software-as-a-service offerings as “green” solutions.

Research for Symantec’s Green IT Report was conducted among 1,052 respondents around the world in March 2009 by Applied Research, which surveyed enterprise IT executives, including vice presidents, directors, and C-level IT executives. The report was designed to gauge respondents’ interest in and plans for deploying strategies and solutions to help reduce e-waste associated with computer hardware, software, facilities, and planning, and ultimately reduce the organization’s footprint.