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Carbon tax spurs data centres to go green

The much vaunted carbon tax, and its implicit promise of pricier power is providing a fillip to technology companies selling green computing solutions.

Speaking at Kickstart 11 in Queensland a number of vendors said that rising power costs as a result of the looming carbon tax were likely to force CIOs to rethink their data centre operations and revisit their technology strategies. Current wisdom has global data centres being responsible for about 1.5 per cent of global emissions - in line with the commercial airline sector.

A rise in power prices as a result of the Government's promised carbon tax could send the cost of computing soaring for large enterprises. For vendors of virtualisation technologies, such as VMWare, green IT will be back on the agenda for many organisations which mothballed discussions of environmental issues during and after the GFC.

According to Paul Harapin, managing director of VMWare in Australia and New Zealand, while the company has long extolled its green credentials, he believes the impost of a carbon tax would 'heighten' the issue for many CIOs.

Emerson Network Power, which makes power supplies and cooling systems for data centres, is banking on it. David Scott, managing director of the company in ANZ, said that the company was working on a data centre infrastructure management tool, called Trellis, which would provide an intelligent interface between the IT systems needed to run the business, and the way these were provisioned in the data centre.

Currently in beta test with organisation in the US, Trellis should allow companies to halve the power buffer that they currently had to maintain just to make sure they could keep their systems running through the usual cycle of peaks and troughs.  Mr Scott said that data centre management was currently so imprecise that data centres typically maintained a 20 per cent power buffer.

By having a finer understanding of the power and cooling requirements, it should be possible to halve that buffer to 10 per cent he said.

'In Australia hundreds of millions of dollars could be saved,' he said. 'It could be billions in the US.'

The tool is expected to be released commercially in the next 12 months.

According to Peter Spiteri, Emerson's director of business development channels; 'The carbon tax will make this product very very important.'

Beverley Head attended Kickstart as a guest of Media Connect.


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