I spent the morning at the Green IT conference and exhibition and very disappointing it was too - not so much for the content of the conference itself but the attendance ...or rather lack of it.
Given that according to the conference organisers' own statistics, 38 percent of organisations are using environmental criteria in their selection of IT equipment, I'd have expected to see and hear more of a buzz about the place.
So, what's the problem? In one respect, the conference was too early - there's an interest in green issues and many people are expecting various strands of legislation over the coming years to force them to lower their carbon footprints ... but not yet. There's also a considerable disconnect between IT and facilities management that needs to be looked at. One speaker pointed out that 67 percent of IT managers didn't see their electricity bill - where's the incentive to save on power costs if you're not only not responsible for it but don't even know what it is.
The other is that green computing is too wide a term for a variety of different areas. Is it about power management? Is it about data centre environments? Is it about managing printer costs? Is it about teleworking and conference tools? Is it about virtualisation? Is it about thin clients? There were companies representing all these areas in the exhibition hall, yet this leads to a mixed message as to what green computing is all about: is it a complete overhaul of how your IT infrastructure is run or is it about tinkering at the edges to make some sort of carbon savings? I suspect that in the long term it will be the former, but in the meantime, the latter will hold sway. So, until things change, I doubt if many companies will be ready to overhaul their infrastructures so radically.
The real question is when will that change come? Will it be government intervention? Or it will be rising electricity costs? And if that, at what price point will the change come? We're not there yet ... and judging by the indifference to this event, we won't be there for some time yet.