As he opened his presentation at last week's Uptime Symposium, Deloitte Chief Information Office Larry Quinlan asked a provocative question: Is "Green IT" a passing fad? "In my chair, we see a lot of passing fads," he said, noting that not all the strategies discussed at data center conferences have staying power in the enterprise. "Most organizations don't build data centers with 400,000 servers with containers pulling up in front," he said. "Most of us are in real business, not the server business."
The answer: Quinlan says the strategies and best practices of Green IT are here for the duration, although the terminology may not be. "I don't think I'm going to be talking about Green IT five years from now," said Quinlan. "I think Green IT will be folded into our IT operations as regular way of doing things. There's a very happy coincidence that the concepts of Green IT are the concepts of efficient operations. I think pitiful economy drives us toward Green IT. It doesn't happen that often that what's great for the environment is great for business."
As CIO of Deloitte, Quinlan oversees information technology for a firm with $27 billion in revenue and 165,000 employees. During his tenure, Deloitte has used virtualization to eliminate 1,000 servers in its data centers, and 600 more in its U.S. offices.
"We always knew we wanted to run a more efficient operation," Quinlan added. "Green IT give us a name for it. You instinctively knew you wanted to have fewer servers. Green IT allowed us to package it in such a way that it became a CIO initiative."