Positive news in a recession? Cost cutting yields green benefits

As part of our ongoing Greenspace initiative, Rackspace recently completed its third annual Green Survey, which polled customers about their environmental strategies. We sliced and diced the results, compared answers to previous surveys, and you can now access the full report here.

We were especially curious to see if being green was a key factor in business initiatives and purchase decisions, especially in this rough economic climate as compared to the last two years. While a majority of survey respondents positioned cost as a more important factor than being green, it is interesting to note that many IT cost-cutting efforts have inherently produced green benefits. For example, thirty-one percent of respondents had undertaken datacenter consolidation, which could be seen as both a cost savings and environmentally friendly initiative.

As I see it, it makes sense that cost-cutting initiatives, such as server consolidation, yield efficiencies and a significant reduction in power consumption. In general, hosting servers in larger datacenters reduces power consumption and environmental impact through scale efficiencies, but there are opportunities to reap even greater benefits if you add in virtualization and cloud computing. Using these technologies is growing in popularity for companies who want to consolidate computing while reaping environmentally and budget friendly benefits.

The survey shows there is a big opportunity for education around the green benefits of cloud computing. A new question was added to this year’s survey asking Rackspace customers whether they viewed cloud computing as a greener alternative to traditional computing infrastructure. Twenty-one percent agreed that cloud computing was a much greener alternative, while thirty-five percent were not yet convinced on its green benefits.

Overall, while cost may outweigh green benefits in the decision making process, the survey shows that a majority of companies are still concerned with green initiatives and are sustaining or improving their environmentally friendly policies. More interesting findings from the survey include:

• Half of the companies polled last year which had begun taking steps towards being green have made significant steps toward being green this year.

• Only twenty-one percent have put their green initiatives on hold.

• Seventy-one percent of respondents said they use traditional methods of environmental sensitivity such as recycling.

Let us know about your own experiences. How has your company balanced shrinking budgets with being environmentally responsible?

John Engates joined Rackspace in August 2000, just a year after the company was founded, as Vice President of Operations, managing the datacenter operations and customer-service teams. Two years later, when Rackspace decided to add new services for larger enterprise customers, John created and helped develop the Intensive Hosting business unit. Most recently, John has played an active role in the evolution and evangelism of Rackspace's cloud-computing strategy and cloud products. John meets frequently with customers to hear about their needs and concerns, and to discuss Rackspace's vision for the future of cloud computing. John currently serves as Chief Technology Officer. John is also an internationally recognized cloud computing expert and a sought-after speaker at technology conferences, including CA World, the Goldman Sachs Techtonics Conference and Cloud Expo. He speaks on the future of cloud computing, enterprise cloud adoption, data center efficiency, green data center best practices, and more. Prior to joining Rackspace, John was a founder and General Manager at Internet Direct, one of the original Internet service providers in Texas. John is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and holds a B.B.A. in Accounting.


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