As Published In
Oracle Magazine
July/August 2008

From the Editor

IT Goes Green

By Tom Haunert

Green can be part of larger efficiencies—and an added benefit.

When I first started at Oracle (many years ago), I attended a multiweek class for new employees. The class curriculum included the "derby" project, which challenged teams to build an Oracle-based proof-of-concept application that solved a business problem.

The problem scenario was simple: "This company runs on paper forms, and it runs inefficiently. We need to make our paper forms electronic and available through every computer at the company." I also remember a comment about an added benefit that the solution would save paper and, therefore, trees.

Green Is Primary and Secondary

In 2008, most major IT projects are not compared to their paper-based predecessors. Making the most-efficient use of all resources is key to both new and ongoing IT projects. With significant cost increases in energy and paper, among other things, making projects more "green" is not simply an added environmental benefit, but part of the key efficiencies of the project.

Some green technology projects end up providing green benefits in their primary business efficiencies and in added Earth benefits. The fact that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will have fewer trucks on the road transporting meter reading and service crews—therefore using less gasoline—as a result of its SmartMeter project isn't the primary reason for the project (see "Growing Green"). But the larger efficiency benefit is also green: the SmartMeter project will allow PG&E to better monitor energy usage and communicate with all of its customers about their usage, enabling them to cut consumption and costs.

Oracle Technology and the Environment 

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IT products and features are also focusing on green benefits. Oracle is making software more efficient in specifically green ways in several products and features, including the Oracle Advanced Compression option of Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition and Oracle VM. Oracle Advanced Compression stores more data in less disk space, and it can also reduce CPU cycles, reduce I/O, improve throughput, and save energy. See "Compress to Impress" for information on the use and specific benefits of Oracle Advanced Compression.

Oracle VM is virtualization software that lets you turn an underutilized physical server into multiple logical servers. Oracle On Demand (which gets 25 percent of its energy from renewable resources) expects server power usage to consume up to 25 percent less energy as a result of the use of Oracle VM. See "License to Operate" to learn more.

Green: A Victory for Information Technology

A few years ago there was disagreement about the very existence of the problems of increased greenhouse gases and climate change. But the volume of current information and consistent conclusions of so many different reports have helped create new clarity, at least in identifying the problems.

I consider this clarity a victory—at least in part—for IT. And I firmly believe that IT in general and Oracle in particular will play a significant role in solutions that make the planet greener. In "Growing Green," Edward Moses of the National Ignition Facility & Photon Science says it well: "Companies like Oracle are key to succeeding in what many consider humankind's grand challenge mission of clean and plentiful energy."

Green Notes

Of course, green in IT isn't just about IT projects and technologies; it's about IT companies, their events, and their publications.

Oracle and Green. In CRO's 10 Best Corporate Citizens by Industry 2007 report, in the technology software industry, Oracle was ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the climate change and environment categories, respectively. For more information on this report and on Oracle, the environment, and energy management, check out the links in Next Steps.

For those of you attending Oracle OpenWorld 2008 in San Francisco, September 21-25, think green and check out the online agenda, the Green Fair, and the Green Room.

Oracle Magazine and Green. A digital edition of Oracle Magazine has been available for two years, and more than 100,000 subscribers receive it. If you'd like to subscribe to the digital edition—and save some trees—see the link in Next Steps.

Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief

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