The Sun is Rising Again

This event was the sixth in the ICON’s IT Giants series, a programme of events to meet leaders from the IT industry in the UK at Intellect offices in London. Trudy Norris-Grey, President & Managing Director of Sun Microsystems UK and Ireland was in the chair with questions from Cliff Saran of Computer Weekly.

The focus of the evenings’ discussion was centred on steps that the IT industry is taking to combat climate change and whether these actions will impact business growth. Trudy is very qualified to talk on the subject, she joined the CBIs’ Climate Change Taskforce in January and is a member of the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change which has been lobbying Number 10 to use environmental regulation to force companies to produce greener technologies.

Trudy highlighted that if we are to combat climate change then technology will need to be one of the main driving forces in a world of ever increasing population and rising per capita consumption. It is a challenge on which the technology industry thrives. Trudy gave an example that the latest Sun servers which use 60% less power than their predecessors. Given that in some parts of the world energy costs are greater than the cost of hardware, given that for most companies the cost of energy is one of their largest expense items, this leads to considerable business saving as well as having a positive environmental impact.

She said there is a huge opportunity for the UK to lead the global efforts and set new standards on climate change but to achieve this, we will need to see strong direction from Government. The other potential hurdle is a “looming skills crisis” that is coming and can already be witnessed. There needs to be greater investment. However, as ICON’s CEO Alan Bristow pointed out that investment will only come if the economic returns are visible and there is a strong business case.

For some IT vendors 80% of the power consumed in the life of a computer is used before it is turned on for the first time” stated one member of the audience, highlighting the key is to affect change at the manufacturing level. Clearly, it is an issue that Sun has already had much success in with its improvement in design and manufacturing processes and with the likes of its Cool Thread Technology, which is making servers that are significantly faster, cooler and less power hungry.

The IT industry is having some success with, the increasing importance of ASP model and big savings as a result of virtualisation. There is however plenty of work to do as the temperature outside exceeds 20 degrees in mid April! What ever happened to April showers?

The seventh in the series of ICON’s IT Giants will be with Andrew Gilbert, MD of QUALCOMM Europe on the 6th June 2007.