Customer Reviews: The Greening of IT: How Companies Can Make a Difference for the Environment
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on April 3, 2012
Dr. John Lamb has a Ph.D. in engineering science, which is quite apparent in
reading his book, "The Greening of IT." This book provides a welcome relief from the
many books that center around virtualization as the panacea for energy utilization. While
"The Greening of IT" does have virtualization as one of the steps required for lowering
energy utilization, it takes an engineering approach. He says, "This book provides details
on the importance of implementing green IT....and especially the case studies for
`lessons learned' and the best practice approaches for implementing green IT."
Dr. Lamb provides a global view of Green IT. This is appreciated as he puts
Green IT in a world-wide perspective, detailing why we need to save energy. The global
view of Green IT continues by placing it squarely in the roadmap for "reducing
greenhouse gases which, in turn, can help reduce global warming," a goal for both the
United Nations (UN) as well as the White House.

Throughout the book are sprinkled engineering explanations such as the
difference between volts, watt, amps, KWHs and voltage levels. As another example, Dr.
Lamb's explanation of "Data Center Cooling Basics" clarifies HVAC systems, the
cooling equipment, and new technology (such as stored cooling, thermal storage systems,
and phase change materials.

Dr. Lamb uses IBM's 5-step program for datacenter efficiency: diagnose,
manage and measure, use energy-efficient cooling, virtualize, and build new or upgrade
facilities when feasible.

Then there are two sections which I have not found in other books: (1) tuning
your applications to require less CPU and (2) Greening your laptop. Tuning applications
often does not happen as we virtualize applications and consolidate them rather than
looking inside the application to use less CPU. Many applications can be tuned to use
25% less hardware then today, however, requires time as the original application
developer is usually not still employed by the corporation. Greening our laptops is a
good idea as well and is a great step to helping use less energy. Dr. Lamb gives the
instructions in his book for Power Management Features and provides the option of
utilizing a thin client PC for corporations as well. (Maybe PROFS will come back, the
original thin client application by IBM, known either as Professional Office System or
PF Keys Rigidly On Freakish Settings).

Dr. Lamb's section on collaboration is interesting as it discusses the need for IT
vendors to "integrat(e) their hardware, software, and services" to help customers improve
their energy initiatives. Further, there is a good overview of IBM's energy monitoring
programs as well. The part where Dr. Lamb allows himself to go back to more
engineering-related topics where is really interesting. The chapter on "The Magic of
`Incentive' -- The Role of Electric Utilities" and "PG&E Lead Utility Energy Efficiency
Coalition" of the impact of energy companies on the Greening of IT and available
incentive programs. This type of explanation, looking outside the typical datacenter and
to the energy companies, was new to me.

The section on virtualization is made more interesting by the SPEC metrics for
virtual servers. Note that older frame's utilization is not tied to their power consumption.
Newer, greener frames use more power as the utilization rises. What is not covered here,
however, is the re-platforming of servers from, for example, a system p environment to a
system z environment. IBM Enterprise Computing Model (ECM) has re-platformed
hundreds of pSeries LPARs into a z/Linux box and reduced all costs as well as lowered
energy utilization. Maybe Dr. Lamb will put that in his next book.
In all, the 5-step approach for an "Energy Efficient Data Center" - Diagnose,
Build, Virtualize, Manage and Measure, and Cool - provides corporations a look at their
datacenter energy costs and find ways to improve their energy utilization and their
virtualization penetration. The emphasis on measurement throughout the book is very
important as Dr. Lamb provides methodologies for baselining (what to baseline) as well
as energy-measurement tools. The book ends with appendices and checklists to actually
do this work. This is not a theoretical book for anyone dealing with high energy costs, it
is a must-read to put a team in place to Go Green!
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on July 15, 2013
Do you turn your computer off when not being used? Both at home? And on the job? And you printer too?

John Lamb's "The Greening of IT" raises all the right questions along with answers and proposed actions to one of the more important topics in recent times: The ever increasing use of IT and along with it the ever increasing use of energy and its increasing negative impact on our environment - both at a large scale company level, as well as the individual level.

The book is well written and with a perfect balance of information, rationale, technical insight, case studies, and a practical understanding of how to approach the IT greening challenge for companies and their current organizational structure; e.g. "The CIO doesn't pay the electricity bill".

Several expected aspects are discussed such as blade centers, virtualization, and energy efficient cooling, but the author also discusses one topic that often is overlooked: Inefficiencies of the software that runs on the IT hardware alone can be a significant contributor to unnecessary waste of energy; e.g. a regularly executed batch job that takes 8 hours to complete, but with proper performance tuning and implementation can be made to run in just 8 minutes.

A highly recommended read on the topic of Green IT; both for CEOs, CIOs, IT architects and anybody else concerned about the environment.
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on July 16, 2009
Great book with real world case studies to reinforce the importance of the "Greening of IT".

It was easy to compare the thinking of current IT infrastructure to where IT infrastructure needs to go as there were plenty of tables or web links to illustrate the efficiencies gained using a greener approach. The main drawback to using external links is that they may not be available by the time the book is published. A website with updates would be a good idea - the free online edition is only a 45 day trial.

Some of the newer technologies made it into the book, but I did not see some of the others - for example Flywheel UPS (although flywheels have been around a long time). Fuel Cell backup power did rate a mention as an emerging technology.

Some more discussion on Computer Room efficiencies and the maximum limits of under floor cooling to handle the newer high density racks based on air flow limits would have been a good addition. This is certainly not a negative because there is only so much that you can cover in a general book.

A few illustrations were a little too small or did not have enough contrast for easy viewing in a black and white publication (example Fig. 11.3, and 11.4 which is a thermal camera image and better suited to color), but did not detract from the material being presented. I am assuming the choice of black and white was driven by the desire for a Kindle version, as well as the extra printing costs needed for color.

As mentioned a lot of external links to extra information were provided, and overall a great snapshot of the current thinking related to the Greening of IT. Naturally with the author being an IBM person there was good coverage of IBM technologies - but there was more than enough coverage of non-IBM solutions so this was not a problem. I recommend this book for both the technical and non-technical reader as the material worked at both levels.
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on May 14, 2013
It is said that `Green is Red Hot'! I became an ISEB certified Green IT Professional in 2010. At that time, I was looking for good reference material on the topic of Green IT as I was invited to teach a course on Green practices, to the students of business management, in one of the key institutes offering masters degree course in business management. After much search, I chanced upon this book by Dr. John Lamb and that was the end of my search! Today, as a researcher, writer and speaker in Green IT, Dr. John Lamb's book continues to be a prominent primary reference for me on the topic. The best part is that this book was produced using paper made with 30% post-consumption recycled fiber. This is what it truly `walk the talk'.
I like the structure of the book and Dr. Lamb's presentation style. He uses a clear, concise and simple language to introduce the key topics in Green IT. Very aptly, the book starts with the need for Green IT and the basic elements of Green IT. Importance of `green data centers' is also explained. Being from the prior background of measurements and metrics in quality assurance, I most enjoyed reading the chapter on `energy use metrics' (Chapter 7). Energy efficiency rating explained is Chapter 5, makes interesting reading. The repertoire of rich cases studies provide on the various implementation aspects of Green IT is the crowning glory of the book (Chapter 9, Chapter 10 and Chapter 11). Dr. Lamb has brought for the significance of `cloud computing' in view of `Green' in Appendix B - as a Green IT researcher I find that most useful for my work. All the appendices of the book contain extremely useful information. For example - Energy engineers would appreciate Appendix C in which various methods of power generation are presented. IT professionals would read with great interest Appendix D where projection on worldwide costs for IT is presented. The Green IT checklist in Appendix A of the book is a useful tool for auditors. Electricity usage in global data centers is also explained in the same appendix. The book is published by IBM press and it is a well known that IBM is a leader in green IT space; for those are interested in comparisons with other IT giants would read with keen interest Green computing information about HP and Sun.
All in all, this is a `must have' reading material for those working in the Green IT space. I'd highly recommend this book by Dr. Lamb, to all speakers, writers as well researchers in the domain.
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on June 19, 2009
Great Book. Great thinking. An eye opener for IT Industry & IT Professionals. Simple & easy to understand flow, which inspires.
I am an IT Professional working on a large project in South Africa, where energy is the major expense. This book elaborate on how companies can implement Green IT. Save Money and Save the Planet !!!
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on July 4, 2009
This book the greening of IT is well written and presented for both the expert as well as the beginner. The case studies are all well written given a real world scenario of how IT greening is taking place , A lot of informative data and links are given which will provide further reference for the IT professional.
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on July 26, 2012
"Ingenious", "Definitely a Learn Something New Everyday Category" "A highly recommended read by anyone who likes to work smart" This author "walks the talk" in his "eye-popping" book by not only identifying the importance of "green awareness" but also provide a strategic, tactical, yet practical prescribed plan of action that any corporate firm can follow. He bridges "common sense with business sense", "economy and ecology" by identifying the cost efficiencies that can be gained, whilst minimizing their overall impact and demand on our environment.
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on June 21, 2009
As a university professor in humanities who is worried about the future and eager to get a glimpse into the present, I found John Lamb's The Greening of IT clearly organized, eminently readable and up-to-the-minute interesting. Especially persuasive is the author's analysis of how major global institutions and corporations--built for a pre-IT era--must remake themselves both to prosper in a new world of IT and to preserve and heal our old world! For those whose technical knowledge is minimal, Dr. Lamb presents a helpful introduction and excellent definitions and descriptions of process. For specialists, his explanations of engineering and economic strategies, as well as his richly referenced notes and practical or personal illustrations of problem-solving, are a great boon: it's all here. What I like best is Dr. Lamb's balance between the massive challenge we all face and the variety of solutions our species (not just the scientists and engineers) must implement. We can all make the incremental changes that will save us. Highly recommended!
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on July 16, 2009
The topic is very relevant to the times we live in. The book is well thought out and addresses the key issues in a manner which provides a clear understanding of various choices that can be made to help make the environment better. Information Technology (IT) is the lifeblood of every aspect of our civilization. By considering the importance of Green IT as one of the parameters to be addressed during their decision making and making some green IT choices, Executives can help minimize the impact of Information Technology installations on the environment. I found this book very informative.
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on November 21, 2010
As a former colleague who worked with John on energy-efficiency in IT, I have to say that's he's done a great job bringing it all together in one book, oriented towards "raised floor" type centralized computing. First, he looks at how to reduce energy (and hardware) needed for IT, through virtualization and other approaches to consolidating lightly loaded processors into a few heavily loaded (and more efficient) machines. He then goes on to look at more efficient data processing equipment, including variable clock/voltage processors, modern UPS systems, better routers and other networking equipment, and improved power distribution and management.

Second, Lamb looks at how to make data processing more energy efficient from the facilities standpoint. Reducing direct processing power requirements, as described above, results in almost a watt-for-watt reduction in cooling load. There are many things that can be done in raised floor engineering to deliver cold air just where it's needed, and not waste energy overcooling or allowing cold air to mix with warm. An added benefit is that the life of equipment can be extended by proper cooling (not just haphazard "chill that air to within an inch of its life and hope it gets to where it's needed"). Modern cooling equipment, such as variable speed fans, can be much more efficient than it was just a decade ago. By reducing processor and cooling power requirements, more computing power can be packed into a given raised floor area without having to boost power feeds.

Dr. Lamb also discusses electrical supply costs, reliability, and carbon footprint for a number of traditional and renewable energy sources. He includes a number of case studies of IT data processing centers being upgraded for greater efficiency.
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