While good corporate citizenship is marketable, green storage initiatives are being driven primarily by one thing: a reduction in operating expenses. As one IT executive at a major U.S. bank put it: I’m going to be totally honest with you. I want to save the planet. I have children. I want them to breathe clean air but trust me, in corporate America, and even corporate Europe, people aren’t going to do this if they’re not going to save any money.
Storage environmentals can comprise as much as 20% of total operational costs. Operational cost reductions are measurable, and tying IT cost reductions to an increase in share price is simply good business for CIO's. The question is: How far do corporations want to go and what are they willing to do to get there?
Organizations have a choice: ride the wave of incremental innovation today's storage products are projected to deliver for reducing cooling and power consumption or send a message to vendors that they're willing to pay more now for dramatically lower operational costs in the long run. While everyone is talking about green storage, this message has not been put out and until it is, earth-shattering cost reductions should not be expected.
Ultimately, lines-of-business will have to drive green solutions because they're dramatically cheaper in the long run. But if this is not perceived as the case within organizations, technologies that deliver dramatic reductions in energy consumption may never see the light of day given that vendors must generate an economic return. The CEO, CFO, CIO and Board of Directors must have this discussion and determine how hard they want to push their organizations and suppliers by investing in less mature, more expensive (to acquire) green technologies.
Action Item: Tactically, it is imperative that IT forces business lines to fully factor energy costs in procurement decisions. IT must develop metrics that facilitate that process and verify the viability of green initiatives by determining the degree to which the organization is willing to pay up for greener technologies. A demonstration of real commitment to this issue will come in the form of internal tax credits and unambiguous incentives for initiatives dubbed as green.