South African companies trying to “sweat” their aging technology assets may actually be losing money instead of saving it – and they’re missing a golden opportunity to build up green credits, a local IT expert has warned.

Hannes Steyn, business development manager at Intel South Africa, says it is possible for bigger businesses to save millions of rands a year in infrastructure and power costs by switching to newer technology, installing desktop management solutions and doing simple things like turning off machines remotely at nights.
Steyn says a local business recently saved an estimated R10-million by slashing the number of servers in its data centre from 352 to 102, using virtualisation technologies. In doing so, it realised a 20kWh electricity saving and created a far more efficient IT infrastructure in the process.
“Techies don’t generally get the ‘green imperative’,” says Steyn. “But what companies need to realise is that green technology initiatives have knock-on effects that go way beyond pure consumption.”
These knock-on effects for the company in question include preventing an estimated 8,76 tons of CO2 emissions from being pumped into the atmosphere. This amount of CO2 would have needed 100 000 trees to be planted to mitigate its effects, which would, in turn, have consumed the equivalent of 2% of the Vaal Dam in water each year.
With it only being a matter of time before King III starts demanding that companies comply with increasingly stringent environmental obligations, Steyn believes green IT infrastructure is one of the easiest ways of building up green credits.
And users don’t have to replace their server farms to start realising benefits, says Steyn: there are numerous “easy wins” on offer for companies wanting to start small. These include turning off computers at night, and turning them back on remotely if they are needed.
Or installing desktop management software, which can halve the number of support personnel needed from the current industry average of four people per 1000 computers. Those people can then be redeployed in more value-added areas of the technology business.
“Right now, for every 1kWh of power consumed, a data centre typically needs another 1kWh to keep it cool. Modern technology allows you to run your data centres hotter – and that can realise huge savings,” says Steyn.
The bottom line, says Steyn, is simple: Green IT is more than just a nice-to-have in today’s business world. It’s a business imperative. And that should make decision-makers sit up and take notice.