Green Marketing and Green Hype

In recent months we’ve seen a wave of corporate announcements about green data center technology and environmentally-friendly IT. Some are genuinely substantive and progressive, and others less so. Chuck Hollis, the VP of technology alliances at EMC, is concerned that it’s becoming harder to tell the difference:

I’m watching with mixed emotions as more and more vendors start to describe their products as addressing challenges associated with reducing power and cooling in the data center. On one hand, clearly it’s a monumental challenge — and opportunity. On the other hand, I’m starting to see vendors with thinner and thinner claims start to add this message to their marketing drumbeat. That’s not a good thing.

Hollis reviews some of EMC’s efforts, and discusses those of some other major players, noting that there are differing opinions on the best way to solve these problems. He also calls on vendors to offer substantive ways for customers to evaluate environmental marketing claims, arguing that the issue is “too important to be messing around.” An excerpt:

It seems to me that there’s a lot of opportunistic positioning going on. Global warming is a serious issue. Running out of energy in data centers is a serious issue. The people who are concerned about these issues aren’t fooling around. And neither should be vendors. If you’ve got a compelling story to tell, and the tools and methodologies to back it up, the more than merrier. No one vendor is going to have a lock on solving this problem. But if you’re just looking for another way to spin your latest feature, let’s do everyone a favor and show a bit of restraint.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.