Thursday, January 18, 2007

Who is in charge of energy costs?

Teaching IT to Energy Managers is so 1999. The 2009 problem is teaching Energy Management to IT Managers. The price of energy is going through the roof (e.g. gasoline projected at $4.00/gallon by 2010) and the rate of consumption of electricity on a constant upward spiral in support of all of the computer infrastructure. In this environment, electricity costs are no longer going to be part of the facilities budget, they are going to be allocated to the departments that are consuming the power. Each of those will find their operating budgets taxed to pay for electricity and their internal or external profits slashed when they take electricity on as an expense.

Electricity is supposed to become more and more of a commodity, not turn itself into an item of competitive differentiation. Google saw the writing on the wall several years ago and moved their computers to where the cheapest power could be generated. Just as production, service, and technologies jobs have moved overseas to lower costs, energy consuming equipment is going to pack up and move to where the cheap energy is. We tend to imagine that it is not worth the cost of moving the equipment, some personnel, and installing the infrastructure to manage it remotely. But that is 1990's thinking. If the price of power keeps going up, it is going to become one of the major issues on the executive plate. Corporate guidance is going to be to find a way to lower energy consumption or lower energy prices. Who in the IT department knowns how to tackle that problem?

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