Where will Microsoft's Green Path Lead? InfoWorld article

InfoWorld joins the press in discussing Microsoft's Green IT efforts.

Microsoft goes greenFor months now, many of the hardware technology heavyweights -- HP, IBM, Sun, Dell, AMD, Cisco, and Intel, for example -- have gone to great lengths to highlight their green products, plans, and corporate visions. Other green IT benefits not withstanding, this strategy makes sense from a marketing standpoint: By demonstrating and accentuating the greenness of their wares, they're better positioned to sell processors, PCs, servers, and other gear to customers hungry for leaner, greener operations.

Now the software behemoth Microsoft has stepped forward to loudly proclaim its support for the sustainable IT movement. The company's off to a good start: Beyond a list of notable green credentials already under its belt, Microsoft has a newly appointed chief environmental strategist in Rob Bernard, charged with guiding and promoting the evolution of the company's green agenda. The company's newly released server platform Windows Server 2008 is garnering praise for its energy efficiency. The company is even starting to share, for free, its best practices for datacenter management.

By shining a green spotlight on itself, Microsoft is calling attention to the fact that it understands the role that it -- and the software and platform industry as a whole -- has to play in the complex green-tech ecosystem. What remains to be seen is how that seemingly newfound green religion will manifest itself in future product offerings, particularly, in my mind, with respect to the successor to Vista.

Green in Redmond
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used the Cebit stage to not only tout the energy-efficiency features loaded in Windows 2008 Server and other Microsoft products; he told the world that the company would soon release a set of best practices for datacenter management, drawing on energy-saving strategies the company has adopted in its own operations. The first set of best practices, in fact, is already available for download.

A friend forwarded on IBM''s direct email response to Steve Ballmer's Cebit presentation. Here is the IBM Green IT product spin. 

IBM System p in conjunction with IBM Middleware provides a massively powerful, scalable solution that lowers Total Cost of Ownership with one of the major components of that savings being power consumption and cooling. Using System p, IBM clients have consolidated 50 or more individual servers onto just one System p server, reducing power consumption by over 90% and floor space requirements by 80%.

With System p, you get improved utilization of the hardware you purchase, and along with the benefits IBM Middleware enjoys on this system, you have an unbeatable combination. Less power, less cooling, more throughput with fewer materials and lower costs - this is the IBM definition of Green IT.

Finally, Ballmer did say that Microsoft still has a lot more work to do when it comes to driving green IT initiatives. We agree. But the answer is NOT moving your data centers to cooler climates or near hydroelectric plants. The answer is consuming less. And IBM Middleware on System p delivers more value with less resource.

So, IBM Green IT consultants are going to focus #1 on upgrading the hardware, and data center power efficiency (PUE) becomes a non-issue?  Actually, it does make sense. The more inefficient your data center is, the more energy you will save when you install an IBM energy efficient hardware upgrade.  These IBM guys are brilliant.  Keep energy costs high to justify hardware purchases.

Which brings up a great point I need to add to a future paper.  Make various PUE assumptions on a data center when calculating an energy efficiency project, and don't assume the PUE is a static number.  PUE is dynamic and changes.