This past summer, our Environmental Sustainability team released a white paper titled, The IT Energy Efficiency Imperative. Since Microsoft on Government is taking a closer look at environmental sustainability issues this quarter, I would be remiss not to draw attention to this white paper and encourage our readers to take a look.
It might come as a surprise, but the fact is that information technology has a large carbon footprint – one that rivals the airline industry. Despite advances in energy efficiency and the implementation of new technologies like server virtualization and cloud computing, today roughly two-thirds of organizations still report that less than half of their production environments are virtualized. In fact, average server utilization for most organizations is still at or below 15-20 percent, a figure that has likely not improved much over the last decade. For government, these numbers are often even lower. The U.S. government, for example, has reported average server utilization rates of less than half those numbers. This represents a large, yet avoidable, waste of resources for government organizations and ultimately their constituents.
In the white paper, our team explores strategies for eliminating IT waste and improving efficiency. The paper also addresses ways for organizations, including the public sector, to adapt to a changing infrastructure paradigm. Under skyrocketing IT demands, the capacity and cost effectiveness of traditional IT infrastructures are starting to strain, and government organizations will need to seek out alternative ways to meet these demands. The paper provides motivation and actionable guidance for IT and business decision makers to adapt to this challenge through technologies such as cloud computing.