What's In a Name: Green ICT Beyond the Data Center

Green ICT references sustainability in the lifecycles of Information and Communications Technology equipment and infrastructures. I use Green ICT instead of Green IT* to acknowledge that issues and opportunities exist not only within infrastructure cores (data centers, NOCs, etc.) but also within the networks and at the edges.

The inclusion of CT has become important for two reasons.

The global growth of the Internet accounts for most of the growth of global telecommunications.

Traditional CT applications like voice and media, once considered technically distinct from conventional IT, have gone digital and is increasingly using the same gear and networks.

Attention to the edge has become particularly critical as global participation in networked infrastructures has increased. Witness the massive numbers of computers, mobile phones/devices, displays, and other gear attached to CT infrastructures. These, along with their users' behavior, have major carbon/energy/e-waste impacts. Network build-out to accommodate new smart-phone use patterns is an example. This is why we have people looking at the potential for an energy efficient Ethernet.

Finally, infrastructure changes can have as much if not more sustainability impact on the network and the edge as it does on the core. Consider the impacts of the conversions of telephony from land line to wireless and of television from analog to digital.

Sometimes these terms are used to describe the application of ICT to sustainability challenges in all disciplines and not just making ICT infrastructures and practices greener in themselves. Vertatique is largely concerned with the latter: energy efficiency, carbon and e-waste reduction, and other objectives focused on making the creation, deployment, and end-of-life of information and telecommunications technologies more sustainable in themselves.

* Green IT is the more common term in America. Vertatique tags its Twitter posts #GreenIT because that is more widely used on Twitter than #GreenICT.