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MSPAlliance promotes green IT initiatives with new certification

The MSPAlliance wants to help members and their customers cut power consumption, explore alternative energy sources and do more to save the environment -- and money.

Managed service providers (MSPs) can soon become certified in green IT initiatives through a new program sponsored by the MSPAlliance, the International Association of Managed Service Providers.

The MSPAlliance Green IT Program will tout reduced power consumption, alternative energy and virtualization as ways that MSPs can help themselves and their customers save money and promote green IT initiatives. There is increased demand for these kinds of services because of the economic downturn, MSPAlliance president Charles Weaver said.

"First and foremost, let's be honest -- companies want to save money, especially in this economy," he said.

Managed service providers that follow green IT initiatives can cut their energy consumption by 35% to 75%, according to the MSPAlliance. To achieve the green IT certification, MSPs must meet specific criteria for remote management of customer sites (which reduces automobile emissions), virtualization, the use of alternative energy and other cost-saving measures, like turning off customers' PCs when not in use.

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"Something as simple as that can radically lower your utility bill," Weaver said.

The MSPAlliance will announce full details of the green IT program at next week's Managed Services Summit in Las Vegas. The group is offering the green IT certification because most MSPs are already taking steps to become more environmentally friendly, Weaver said.

"All we're doing is recognizing something that's already going on in the marketplace," he said.

The MSPAlliance also hopes to encourage its members to take a broader view of green IT initiatives. Most of the current focus now is in the data center -- because it's "the one central place where you lose a lot of energy" -- but managed service providers and their customers won't realize the true potential of green IT initiatives without addressing other areas as well, Weaver said.

The program will also extend green IT certifications to customers of certified MSPs, in an effort to draw more attention to green IT initiatives.

"They can actually reduce their operating costs by doing some very simple things and contacting their local MSP," Weaver said.

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