A Green Data Center is not a Binary Decision

Microsoft Infrastructure Architect Lewis Curtis and I have had numerous conversations on what is a green data center.  We both agree it is not simple binary decision, but a long term commitment to improve the use of resources to provide data center services.


Corporate IT initiatives to reduce environmental impact and power consumption is here for the long run. Executives are allocating time, energy and money to invest in Green initiatives. Governments are allocating research, regulations and suggesting laws toward Green Datacenter efficiency. Consumers, policy makers and industry influentials are promoting Green Datacenter models.

We didn't see laws and regulations promoted for SOA, or Agile design, or Web 2.0 or SaaS, … Ten years from now, those initiatives might not even exist, but commitments to reduce environmental impact and power consumption will continue to be important for organizations.

Many view the Green Datacenter as a product feature checklist to gain their one time win. But that is an unfortunate illusion. While new technology from the industry will help, it does not replace the ongoing architectural and process commitment needed.

Green Datacenters = An Architectural Commitment, not a product Strategy

For example, A virtualization or a blade environment product decision has the potential to reduce power consumption. But if there are no processes or architectural guidance to go with it, it can encourage server sprawl and eventually increase power consumption. And of course, increasing rack power density without a aligned cooling architecture is a recipe for datacenter disaster.

Environmental Impact and Power Consumption is becoming a crucial architectural systemic quality metric:

In the past, IT architects gave too little attention to security: Eventually suffering the consequences. Environmental Impact and Power are quickly becoming pervasive architectural issues with new initiatives.