Interactive Session: Organizations: Green Data Centers: Good for Business? Case Study Questions 1. 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 warming. 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 running one. 2. 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 beginning. People: employee telecommuting; users understanding and abiding by policies in which they turn PCs off when not in use. Organizational: 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. Technology: 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.
3. 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. 4. 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 long term. MIS In Action Perform an Internet search on the phrase “green computing” and then answer the following questions. ( Portions of the answers below were copied from the Web .) 1. Who are some of the leaders of the green computing movement? Which corporations are leading the way? Which environmental organizations are playing an important role? Some of the major corporations leading the green computing initiative are the same major
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