Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Top 5 Green IT Companies

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Green is the new pink. Go Green. The lean-green-carbon-fighting-machine. Well, I made that last one up, but you get the point. Eco-friendly living is no longer a figment of the collective granola crunching, satchel wearing populous, but a stark reality for all of humanity. This includes those three-syllable entities that for so long stood on the other side of the fence, quashing the protests of hippies with megaphones and slick corporate speak - Big Business. Mega corporations are jumping on the green bandwagon like lemmings into the ocean, pumping millions into polished branding campaigns involving puffy white clouds and smiling indigenous peoples.

I know, that seemed a bit cynical, but the truth is some of big business is actually putting its money where its mouth is. Even though environmental atrocities are still being perpetrated by cowboy hat-wearing, cigar smoking, silver-haired head honchos; all in all this green re-branding trend is a very, very good thing. Companies across the country are scrambling to actually get some eco-friendly deeds on their resume in fear of their beloved consumers giving them the cold shoulder due to changing green habits.

I'd like to point out some of these eco-friendly 'do-gooders' in the IT sector: information technology and computer hardware companies across the country that are helping to alleviate our global climate crisis. Some of these tech companies are building cutting edge green data centers, constructing next-generation energy smart grids and implementing hyper-efficient recycling programs. Please contribute some of your own to the list, but for now, my top 5 green IT companies:

1. Cisco Systems - Cisco is truly investing in the future by helping implement 'smart grid' technology across the country. The company's first foray into smart grids was with Energy Smart Miami, an initiative that will create an efficient electricity grid for the southern Florida metropolis. Soon after this first announcement, the third largest U.S. utility, Duke Energy, announced it would be working with Cisco to extend smart grid technology to 11 million customers in the next five years. Creating a nation-wide smart grid that can regulate our country's energy usage is a priority in stemming our impact on the global environment.

2. IBM - IBM recently announced a partnership with Syracuse University to build a data center that uses 50% less energy than the standard. Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is a new metric for Data Center energy usage that is being pushed by companies like IBM and Intel. Combining the capital and hardware from IBM and the research efforts from universities like Syracuse will help foster a new breed of efficient data-centers that can usher us into an eco-friendly future.

3. Dell- Dell made important steps in the IT industry by becoming the first company to offer a world-wide recycling program for consumers. The company abides by strict global guidelines to offer people ways to dispose of their used networking hardware. Used computer equipment, from discarded routers to monitors, continually contributes to our planet's growling landfills. The more recycling solutions the better- disposing of used cisco, used juniper, used IBM, used dell or any other used computer equipment should be an eco-priority.

4. Juniper Networks- Juniper Networks, a leading provider of router and switch products, recently teamed up with IBM on a new energy efficient data center in Boulder, CO. The center features cutting edge IT hardware, including virtualization computing systems and energy efficient power and cooling solutions. Juniper will utilize it's network infrastructure capabilities, including routing, switching and security hardware powered by the JUNOS software.

5. Sun Microsystems- Sun Microsystems began the practice of openly posting their energy usage statistics for consumers to view. Although this is primarily a company branding strategy, it's a fantastic practice that many other large corporations should take up. Transparency is something that not only keeps a company in check, but lets consumers compare and rate a company's energy efficiency. If all big businesses (and governments) began this open practice, it would widely contribute to helping the cause.

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