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Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

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What is Green IT?

While it is natural to immediately gravitate towards hardware and energy centric dimensions of sustainability, eco- friendly computing in terms of the software used, applications and services tends to be an afterthought. Sure, there are software tools that help track emissions, provide better storage solutions, monitor alternative energy production, smart energy grid management etc but what about the actual software used? Can software be green in itself , apart from its functionality?

One way to go green on the software would be to choose a low resource version of open source software .Why? Open source is software for which the source code is completely accessible allowing users to use, change, and improve the software. The customization and free code help with resource optimization and cost reduction. Open source also tends to have a strong community backing of developers who collaborate on the development process further increasing efficiency and reducing work time. Since organic open source software is not tied to any vendor, it tends to be distributed online without the inherently wasteful stages in software purchase such as marketing presentations, quotes, contracts, postage material etc. E-mail transmission of documentation is also generally the norm amounting to lesser paper wastage. Use of good document management software further reduces the use of hard copy manuals. There is a significant number open source developers who telecommute as coding is mostly done in isolation lending itself better to telecommuting options which is another big energy save. Also low resource open source software can typically run on recycled equipment and less glossy hardware unlike the costly demands of most proprietary software that does not perform well on commodity hardware. Another way that your facility can contribute to energy conservation is to adopt an efficient open source, online CRM software to organize, track and maintain customer relationships. Once you have a good web conferencing software in place, there is less need for travel and expensive meet-ups for trivial matters on the pretext of finishing business.

Of course not all open source software is completely free of expense even though it does not usually come with the hefty price tags of proprietary software. Some of the commercial open source software vendors require additional fees for customer support and development. Additionally you might have to invest in one or more software engineers to help you with customization depending on the needs and size of your organization. For help with greening your IT strategy, choosing the right open source software to boost your efficiency and achieve pain free opensource migration, contact us at GreenRackSystems; [email protected].

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