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By Paula Jacobs at Accelerate Results

Industry analysts share their thoughts on green IT trends to watch in 2009.

1. Evolution to Green IT 2.0

Watch for a transition from green IT 1.0 to green IT 2.0—from an emphasis on reducing the carbon footprint to leveraging IT as an enabler of green business practices.

“Green IT is more about green practices and policies than about technology,” says Doug Washburn, an analyst with Forrester Research” (

Washburn sees a greater push toward a “green enterprise” model in which IT becomes a critical enabler for actively reducing environmental impact across its value chain activities whi le meeting financial goals.

Companies such as Nike and UPS have paved the way toward a green enterprise. Nike’s Considered Index desktop application empowers designers to make more eco-friendly decisions when designing shoes, and the UPS package/flow software, a supply chain program that eliminates left-hand turns, eliminates vehicle idle time to reduce energy consumption and fuel costs.

2. Increased Government Regulations, Compliance and Accountability

Government regulation and climate change management will present new risks, rules and opportunities, predicts Vernon Turner, senior vice president, Research, at IDC. These will relate to greenhouse gas emission targets; cap and trade; a carbon tax; carbon capture; energy security; and the building of smart environments, including grids, buildings and transportation systems.

IT will need to assume greater accountability for sustainability. That includes measuring energy consumption more accurately and demonstrating to shareholders and customers how it has reduced the carbon footprint.

Proper asset disposal will become increasingly important and subject to government regulations, including greater emphasis on disposing of older equipment in an environmentally responsible manner.

3. Convergence of Business, Economics and Technology

Green IT is built around three disciplines—business, economics and technology—says IDC’s Turner. In 2009 there will be a more compelling case for economic, environmental and social sustainability, including:

  • Green manufacturing, supply chain and transportation management
  • Carbon management, renewable distributed energy, the green data center, IT asset recycling and reverse logistics
  • Community and NGO (nongovernmental organization) outreach

4. Increased Standardization and Accountability

Businesses and government bodies will pay closer attention to green IT standards.

“There are no accepted standards, which is the challenge,” says Turner. “There have to be global standards for technology.”

5. New Dimension to Virtualization

“Virtualization is still hot, but it is hot in a different regard,” says Jeffrey Hill, a computer industry analyst and coauthor of Green IT for Dummies, scheduled for April 2009 publication by John Wiley and Sons.

Instead of a primary focus on software virtualization technology and servers, virtualization will expand to include more storage solutions and tools that unify virtualization, desktop virtualization and cloud computing, with more vendors expected to enter the market. Other new virtualization trends to watch for:

  • Increased use of virtualized servers in production mode
  • Proliferation of desktop virtualization
  • Cloud computing, with the shift of the infrastructure and sustainability burden to the cloud

In sum, 2009 will be the year that green IT optimizes business practices, green IT standards develop and across-the-board compliance becomes more important. Policies, procedures and processes will gain ground on technology solutions.

Paula Jacobs is a Massachusetts-based writer who covers business and technology.