Toward Greener Computing

Toward Greener Computing

By Carol Baroudi
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.@ArrowGlobal's @Carol_Baroudi helps program committee for @Emerging_Green Conf. ID leaders for a greener cloud

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Carol Baroudi works for Arrow’s Value Recovery business, promoting sustainability awareness and action. Her particular focus is electronics at their end-of-life stage, and everything connected.

Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 11:00am

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Technology consumes power. More technology consumes more power. A growing population consumes even more technology, which consumes more power. In the past 20 years, we’ve gone from people who turn technology on and off to people who are connected to and reliant on technology 24/7, so the power consumption is continuous. Technology growth has momentum that is running unchecked, creating an invisible draw on electrical current that most do not fathom. When you do a Google search, are you picturing your request going to one of the huge data centers always there to answer the most trivial of our questions? Acres of buildings house little more than computers that are always on – generating heat and consuming electricity. More acres house the hundreds of millions of digital pictures we upload daily – more than 250 billion photos, growing daily and always powered on.

Last year, Computerworld proclaimed, “Data centers are the new polluters.” As a result of technology’s uncurbed hunger for power, an increasing proportion of the world’s electrical consumption is being attributed to technology. Meanwhile, many unsung heroes are battling to reign in IT’s electricity appetite by putting an emphasis on energy-efficient hardware, using virtualization to reduce hardware demand, expanding the use of renewable energy to power data centers, and extending the life of useful equipment. Great debates on just what are the best approaches to greener computing abound, and in September, at the Emerging Green Conference in Portland, Oregon, leaders are converging to debate and share best practices.

I’ve long been bothered by the proclamation by some that simply moving to the cloud will make their IT greener. It simply isn’t the case. With an intelligent and intentional strategy it certainly may be, but a simple move to the cloud is no guarantee. So it was with great delight that I joined the program committee for the conference, focusing particularly on identifying experts who can really lead an informed discussion on what makes a data center or cloud truly greener.

I hope you’ll be able to join me and other professionals as we hear from Facebook’s Bill Weihl when he presents his keynote address, Infrastructure at Scale. With executive director of the Open Data Center Alliance George Goodman, sustainability strategist from Adobe Vince Digneo, senior director of environmental sustainability at Akamai Nicole Peill-MoelterErin Bolduc of Lenovo, Dr. Julie Sinistore of thinkstep, and others, we have created a great session: Strategies for Greener Data Centers and Clouds. On the docket for discussion are:

  • How to reduce energy consumption
  • How to shift the energy mix toward the usage of more renewables
  • The importance of including embedded energy in the energy assessment
  • How to reduce cost through strategy and design
  • How to develop a size-appropriate data center/cloud strategy
  • The importance of evangelizing greener computing across the organization to garner support from such functions as real estate and facilities

Emerging Green promises to be unique in the world of sustainability-focused conferences. Technology architects, designers and users, industry leaders, and professionals from high-profile nonprofits are coming together to share and learn, and then together address the very real environmental challenges related to technology. If “green IT” or “sustainable electronics” is important to you, Portland, Oregon, in September is the place to be. I am looking forward to meeting many folks with whom I’ve spoken over the years but never met in person, as we will be together there. If you’d like to learn more or would like to connect at the conference, drop me a line at


Carol Baroudi works for Arrow’s Value Recovery business, promoting sustainability awareness and action. She is the lead author of Green IT For Dummies. Her particular focus is on electronics at the IT asset dispositionstage, e-waste, and everything connected. Follow her on Twitter @carol_baroudi and connect with her on LinkedIn at