A well-known frog of the Muppet persuasion once said that it’s not easy being green.
While that may be true in Jim Henson’s world, it is definitely not the case as more and more companies and their networking organizations launch green initiatives to help save the planet as well as more than a few bucks in the budget.
No conference worth its socially responsible salt would skip the opportunity to touch upon the green theme, and the FutureNet gathering taking place in Boston this week is no exception. There were a number of companies on the agenda presenting their green philosophy and talking a blue streak about lowering your carbon footprint, halting global warming and all that other good stuff to benefit Mother Earth.
At the end of the day, and to be brutally honest, most companies wouldn’t throw a lot of muscle behind the movement if there wasn’t a significant cost benefit to going green. That’s not a bad thing, because the fact is that a whole lot of money can be sliced from an IT or networking budget by consolidating servers, making better use of people and equipment resources, and expanding telecommuting and teleworking beyond traditional mobile work forces.
The idea is to move from an ‘always on’ way of thinking to an ‘always available’ mindset, says British Telecom’s green guru and head of corporate social responsibility Kevin Moss. Most electronic devices are designed from the get-go to be always on because they can then lend themselves better to fast hand-shaking and accessibility, he notes. What users basically want, however, is for devices to be readily available and not necessarily on all the time.
It is a bit ironic that as attendees at the FutureNet conference in Boston this week dined on Mexican fare as part of Cinco de Mayo festivities, just outside and within reach were gallons of hand sanitizer liquid.
There were even small bottles of the stuff positioned at the registration desk, as people lined up to pick up their badges and dive into sessions that explored everything from building cost effective WANs to MPLS backhaul networks.
The H1N1 swine flu was not officially on the agenda here as network engineers and technical specialists gathered to discuss the latest trends and developments in SIP trunking, telecom convergence and 4G mobile. Nothing to sneeze at when it comes to keeping the corporate network up to snuff and preparing for such things as convergence, increasing numbers of teleworkers and even the spread of green IT across distributed networks.
A lot of the first-day discussions focused on the evolution of WAN architectures, especially as companies explore emerging next generation Ethernet technologies, MPLS and VPLS alternatives. Most enterprise architectures have extended way beyond the typical LAN, said Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar in his presentation. Companies do it because they have to, he noted, because if they do not the result can be a loss of customers, potential business and eventually market share.