back to article Dell: We went green too early

Dell has admitted it won't earn much return on the energetic greening of its operations and products, until CIOs get paid to have greener data centres. Michael Dell, Dell's founder, chairman and CEO, said in a briefing with journalists in London today, that the underlying interest in green matters is growing at a fast pace. …


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  1. Ian Ferguson
    IT Angle


    Can you explain what a CIO is, for the business-illiterate of us? Maybe 'tooltip' acronyms in your stories.

    As I don't know what a CIO is, I mentally replaced it with 'goblin' in this story, which provided brief entertainment.

  2. Ben Mathews

    CIO is....

    Chief Information Officer

    Think along the lines of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Finantial Officer (CFO)

  3. Anonymous Coward

    @Ian Ferguson

    It's just another TLA that really means "PHB at the top of a particular pile".

    But I know what you mean - one of my clients has a Central Investments Officer and a Chief Information Officer. I could probably find places with a Corporate Information Officer, a Chief Immigration Officer, Central Intelligence Officer, Combat Intelligence Officer and so on. I'm guessing it's the first though

    Mine's the one with the cis-4-cyano-4-(3-(cyclopentyloxy)-4- methoxyphenyl)cyclohexanecarboxylic acid in the pocket

  4. Jodo Kast

    google CIO

    It takes 2 seconds to google "CIO".

  5. Tony

    @ Ian: Seriously dude? Dude! Seriously!

    "Can you explain what a CIO is" - "As I don't know what a CIO is, I mentally replaced it with 'goblin' "

    Sounds about right.

    BTW (By The Way), CIO = Chief Information Officer

    There was a craze a few years ago for making up titles - it would be nice to see it back again.

    Tony (ICTM, NM, SG, DBM, FLSD, KOTF)

    It's Tuesday and I wish it were Friday

  6. Anonymous Coward

    CIOs are not responsible for the budget?

    wtf is he on about plenty of IT companies are managing to sell green servers and data centres on the basis that they save money on rapidly increasing power costs. There may be no separate 'green budget', whatever that may be, but the financial return is good enough to convince a CIO (Chief Information Officer) if your products are any good - unlike Dells obviously.


  7. Anonymous Coward


    Well, some of us already knew that all along.

    In my previous job, the freshly fledged new Chief Idiot Officer along with the new CTO ordered downgrade from a custom Debian (with voltage and frequency scaling) to RHEL 4.0 with no power management. I slapped them with the energy difference costs on the table and asked who picks it up. Guess what the answer was - f**k all, electricity is not in my budget.

    The majority of Dell customers are SMBs who do not have proper datacenter ops and do not have electricity as an isolated cost. It is indeed not in the CIO budget. CIO in an average UK or US company does not give a flying f*** about energy costs and that is the bottom line until the beancounters smarten up enough to ask for separate electrical meters to staff desks and put that onto the IT budget.

    Till that time, Dell should probably get some services and R&D to start selling into the space of IBMs, Suns and Fujitsus of this world (not that so called financial services have any budget to buy at present). These are places that have the power in the CIO budget.

  8. Bryce Prewitt
    Thumb Down

    @ google CIO

    And it probably took a good five or six - if you were previously logged in! - to write out that stupid response.

  9. John
    Thumb Down

    Colo providers charge by the rack, not the Watt

    All colo operators I've used tend to charge by the rack or U. They may have a cap on the max Amps you can draw, but other than that there is no incentive to reduce power consumption. Every rack should have a meter on it - there would be an immediate drive amongst data and telecoms providers to go green immediately.

  10. Jesse
    Thumb Up

    A good one for you sysadmins

    CIO: Shit, we never did budget for powering all these new systems

    Admin: We're going to need new circuits for all this load...

    CIO: I know! We'll pull funding for the air conditioning!

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Too early?

    No... Dell have done the right thing... but have the pricing wrong for the Chief Information Indian.

    Stick with it Dell - green will become mandatory

    Mine's the green one hanging on the tree...

  12. Solomon Grundy

    @CIO?, Goblins, and Budgets

    We put 35% of our utilities costs into our CIO's budget at FY 07. He was enraged for a while, but he got over it. Dealing with real costs and real (non-virtual) products gave him a new outlook on life. He's now a much better person to work with and I'll dare say, he's a better person overall.

    The IT world has been screaming for years to be viewed as serious business contributors and now they have a chance by dealing with the stuff that the "non geeks" (i.e. management) deal with. If they can actually save money, or even figure out a way to make money, instead of being a cost center the IT people will be HUGE.

    It's up to them to fuck it up though. We'll see what happens.

  13. Lord of Dogtown
    Thumb Up


    Electricity is cheap in India so who gives a toss about your green computers, I build datacentres and the UK vs India cost for electricity is a no brainer.

    Some of you folk really need to wake the F8ck up !

  14. Brian Murray

    and the more serious point ....

    I'm not sure if the 'what is a CIO' comment was made out of irony or not - but it is obviously a very good question when looked at in terms what the role should be nowadays.

    That aside, as I think it diverts from the topic in hand, the fact the CIOs are not only not accountable for a significant proportion of the running costs of their operations, but are also not being asked to monitor their footprint (in carbon terms if nothing else) are serious issues which companies should be addressing.

    The first of these issues are fairly simple - how can you measure cost-savings against value-delivery if you don't even measure these appropriately in your budgets?

    The second is more subtle but I doubt anyone would doubt there is a carbon budget emerging and we will have to monitor these factors sooner or later. Thinking our supply chain will not pass on those costs is perhaps niave. This will also need to be international e.g. if we outsource to india (for example) then the carbon costs will need to be factored in.

  15. The Dark Lord

    Too early indeed

    One of the lessons of business is that targets become more challenging. Dell's "We were too early with the green thing" message is interesting on a second level: Currently, (as has been commented previously) electricity - for power and cooling - is a Facilities Management issue, and FM budgets are usually separate from IT budgets, even when FM and IT are in the same business division. So, there is no incentive for a CIO to reduce energy costs, and certainly not to replace an existing but ageing server with one that is smaller, faster and more efficient. "A capital spend out of my budget to make an operating saving in his budget" is crazy talk.

    Now, here's the tricky part: Any CIO who implements green tech before being required to is hanging themselves. I know (because I've done the numbers) that I can wipe 60% off my energy costs, and that in doing this, I can refresh my entire server estate for zero cost over three years. But I also suspect that I'm going to be asked by the CIO to deliver energy efficiencies in the financial year 2010-11. So, if I replace the servers now, I take away my ability to deliver the savings then, because they've already been delivered.

    Big businesses are stupid, but we've seen this all before with the "laser toner is a stationary cost" argument, and I for one am not about to bang my head against that wall unless explicitly asked to...

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Green software?

    We keep on hearing about green hardware, green processors, green packaging.... Anyone heard trends toward green software that does not overload our machines?



  17. Anonymous Coward


    I see you are still sticking with the new redesign.

    A little bit of pleasure has been taken out of my life.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data centre costs are the biggest incentive to be green

    Our company (Emojo) has become considerably greener over the past three years or so since energy caps became the key element when using racks in data centres. We went from filling racks with servers one year to using only 30% of the rack space 18 months later. To get the most out of our data centre investments we've had to upgrade our entire sever setup.

    The advent of low energy servers and virtualisation technologies means we typically double our capacity for every old server we swap out with a new one, and frequently we're replacing two or more severs with one multi-core, multi-virtualised replacement.

    The same is true of the desktop computers we use which now use considerably less power than previously. The only exception are our screens which are getting bigger every time we replace them and that is no doubt reducing the overall level of energy savings considerably.

  19. Hunde Kotze

    Utter Nonsense and Excuse-idiocy

    Facilities costs, in particular server-room cooling, is a MAJOR part of tech facilities expenditure. The monthly electric bill is not the immediate point. Dell trying to excuse its incompetence with this verbal footwork is just ridiculous. Are they getting their lines from the McCain campaign?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    So what shade of green is next?

    Soylent is probably the most appropriate...

    Too many people, consuming too many resources...

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