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Digital Scotland shows green route

15/04/15

The Scottish Government has published a Green ICT Strategy for the country's public sector

Public sector organisations in Scotland have been urged to rationalise their data centres, look at maturity models for procurement and re-use and recycle more of their ICT as part of a nationwide green strategy.

Route marker in Whiteside HillsThe recommendations are included in the Scottish Public Sector Green ICT Strategy, published last week by the Digital Scotland team in the Scottish Government.

It says that data centre rationalisation, leading to colocation, virtualisation and ultimately to having most data hosted by cloud services, offers the largest win in greening ICT operations. Although most public authorities in Scotland do no proactively measure their energy consumption or understand the total cost of running their data hosting facilities, the document claims it is possible to reduce the cost by 20-30%.

The document says ICT professionals should adopt a data hosting road map, with the ultimate aim of more data being hosted by cloud services to provide savings. In addition, Digital Scotland has prepared a separate data centre and hosting strategy to provide guidelines on how to approach the issues.

Principles in procurement

The strategy emphasises the importance of green principles in procurement, saying that organisations should: consider extending the life of existing systems; go for services not assets; and look at packaging reduction, re-use and repair.

When they are dealing with potential suppliers they should take into account the levels of a maturity model and workbook for green ICT. These include a range of measures and can culminate in aligning the organisation's green strategy with that of the supplier.

There is also an emphasis on re-use and recycling equipment, donating surplus equipment to charities and, if there is no alternative to disposal, ensuring that this is done in an environmentally responsible manner.

"Organisations should develop a detailed re-use and recycling policy and procedure for the disposal of ICT equipment, ensuring that the required clearances are obtained from appropriate authority for recycling," the document says.

Recommendations for professionals

Among the recommendations for ICT professionals are to look at power consumption when upgrading hardware, investigate carbon offset programmes, implement desktop virtualisation using ultra small and thin client terminals, switch off non-essential servers and use energy management software.

The strategy is not being underpinned by legislation or mandated, but it will be used in the mandatory and reporting elements of Scottish Government legislation and policy initiatives. It will be subject to review in March 2018.

Image: Route market on Whiteside Hill, Eileen Henderson, Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 through Wikimedia

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