Interactive Session: Organizations: Green Data Centers: Good for Business?
Case Study Questions
What business and social problems does data center power consumption cause?
Excessive power consumption uses a vast amount of electricity that must be generated
through hydroelectric plants or coal-fired power plants. While hydroelectric generation plants
are less stressful on the environment than coal-fired, nevertheless, they do pull resources
from more useful purposes. Coal-fired power plants generate huge amounts of carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere which some scientists and politicians claim is a major cause of
global warming. Social implications of increased power consumption point to global
Businesses must pay to power their servers and then pay again to keep them cool and
operational. Cooling a server requires roughly the same number of kilowatts of energy as
What solutions are available for these problems? Are they people, organizational, or
technology solutions? Explain your answer.
Some of the solutions to cut power consumption discussed in the case study are a good
employee telecommuting; users understanding and abiding by policies in which
they turn PCs off when not in use.
building data centers that take advantage of hydroelectric power
generation rather than coal-fired power plants; renewable energy projects; alternative
energy; better management of computing resources.
thin client computers, software that automatically turns computers off; more
efficient chips. Perhaps the most environment-friendly solutions are those that control the
hardware and software, thereby controlling the problem at its source. Virtualization holds
great promise as a way to reduce power requirements by reducing the number of servers
required to run applications.
What are the business benefits and costs of these solutions?
Even though it may cost a business up-front money to install hardware and software that
reduces power requirements, it will save a business a lot of money in the long run by
reducing the amount it pays for electricity to run the equipment and cool it at the same time.
Businesses that reduce their power needs help the environment and can promote
themselves as environment-friendly.
Should all firms move toward green computing? Why or why not?
All firms should make some effort to reduce their power requirements and promote green
computing. From a business standpoint it makes sense to reduce costs, both short term and
MIS In Action
Perform an Internet search on the phrase “green computing” and then answer the
Portions of the answers below were copied from the Web
Who are some of the leaders of the green computing movement? Which corporations
are leading the way? Which environmental organizations are playing an important
Some of the major corporations leading the green computing initiative are the same major
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