Jan 02 2024

Focusing on Digital Sustainability Is More Cost-Effective for ITAM

Businesses should consider lifecycle length and energy efficiency as part of their selection process for both hardware and software.

More organizations are evaluating their technology assets in terms of sustainability. Sustainable devices are better for the environment, reduce costs and promote efficiency. Here are the answers to five vital questions that IT leaders should ask about this emerging priority.

1. Why Is Sustainability a Priority for Asset Management?

Short device and server refresh cycles, rapid product upgrades, and Moore’s law have made IT a laggard when it comes to sustainability. But as companies prioritize stabilizing and containing IT costs, they’re discovering that sustainable IT is also economical IT. Although devices will always be vulnerable to wear and tear, limitations around things like memory and disk space are being made less relevant by the cloud. Today, device retirement and replacement is more likely to be forced by unmaintainable or unsupported software. One big benefit: Device lifecycles can be much longer, reducing e-waste and costs — a budget and sustainability win.

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2. How Can Businesses Select More Sustainable Devices?

Major IT hardware and software providers are very aware of the e-waste and lifecycle problem, and it’s easy to uncover lifecycle timelines, operating system and security patch commitments, and other sustainability information. IT teams should bring that data to the table when considering hardware purchases, whether they are for infrastructure, the data center or end-user devices. Adding this additional axis of information to the decision-making process helps make more sustainable acquisitions. The traditional calculations for total cost of ownership don’t need to add sustainability as a metric, because long-term sustainability is almost always more economical as well.

3. How Should It Factor Energy Efficiency Into its Considerations?

Everyone is looking at every aspect of energy efficiency, and every watt counts, so evaluating devices’ energy efficiency puts money back in your company’s pocket. But IT teams should consider scale when making sustainability decisions about energy efficiency. Yes, wireless charging of smartphones is much less efficient than wired, but a single smartphone uses only a few ampere-hours per day. A single rack of servers will draw about 1,000 times that. Selecting devices and configurations to make one rack of servers 25 percent more efficient makes a real impact: You’d have to convince thousands of people to give up wireless charging to have the same effect.

RELATED: Tips to achieving a sustainable business.

4. Is the Cloud a More Sustainable Choice?

Calculations are always complicated when looking at sustainability, but comparing your data center versus a cloud center is much simpler: The cloud data center always wins. They are more efficient in every way: power, cooling, space, utilization, device lifecycle, overall efficiency, even adoption of renewable energy sources.

5. Is All Software Equally Sustainable?

Many people overlook software, but it is a key part of the sustainability equation. Software can be more or less energy-efficient, can have a longer or shorter lifecycle, can be cloud-friendly or cloud-hostile, and can encourage users to select more efficient settings — or not. Determining which software is more sustainable can be difficult for IT teams, but it’s worth the effort.

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