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The IT Energy Efficiency Imperative

This comprehensive but concise screen-readable white paper explores the importance and urgency of embracing IT resource efficiency in areas such as system architecture, hardware provisioning, software design and operations. By considering IT resource efficiency equal to reliability and security, this whitepaper illustrates best and next practices that can help organizations stretch their budgets and respond more rapidly to demands for IT additional services.


IT Energy Productivity
The Hidden Impacts of Underutilization
IT Industry Leadership and Government Oversight
Operating IT as a Utility
Applications:The Missing Link
Energy Efficiency in Perspective
End User Computing Environments
A vision of IT Energy Efficiency
Immediate Opportunities
Principles and Practices
Seizing the Opportunities

Executive Summary

Tight budgets, rising energy costs, and limits on
electric power availability are hindering the ability
of information technology (IT) departments to meet
the growing demand for IT services. To mitigate these
challenges, it is important for organizations to embrace
IT energy efficiency principles and practices to remain
productive and competitive in this increasingly
digital age.

IT suppliers and vendors are responding to this challenge by producing more energy-efficient computer hardware, creating software that helps improve the energy efficiency of IT operations, and offering improved operational efficiency through public and private cloud computing platforms and services.

But many IT departments are failing to capitalize on these advances. Lacking the necessary incentives or capabilities to improve IT energy efficiency, they are continuing the decades-old practice of overbuilding computer systems and thereby missing the opportunity to make their IT operations more sustainable and more responsive to organizational needs.

Despite the wide availability of server virtualization and centralized PC power management solutions, only 25% of IT departments have a plan for optimizing IT resource use, increasing energy efficiency, and minimizing the waste generated by their IT operations. As a result, average server utilization remains at historically low levels, and in many organizations, desktop PCs waste as much as 75% of the electricity they consume.

The IT Energy Efficiency Imperative

By embracing energy efficiency in areas such as system architecture, hardware provisioning, software design, and operations, organizations can reduce their IT budgets and respond more rapidly to demands for additional services, thereby improving their overall productivity and competitiveness.

As a leading provider of software platforms and solutions, Microsoft is committed to helping customers improve the energy efficiency of their IT systems. We also recognize that manufacturing, operating, and disposing of IT equipment has a significant and growing impact on the environment. Building on capabilities in our core platform offerings—Windows Server, Windows Azure, and Microsoft System Center—that enable energy-efficient IT operations, this paper outlines key strategies, principles, and practices that organizations can adopt to make their IT infrastructure more energy efficient, cost effective, and responsive to business demands.

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