Green information technology (IT) was the key theme of CeBIT 2008, the world's largest digital-industry trade show, held March 4-9 in Hannover, Germany.

With 5,845 exhibitors from 77 countries taking part, CeBIT 2008 provided “the right international platform for an issue that affects the whole information-and-communications-technology (ICT) sector,” Sven-Michael Pruser, PhD, vice president of Deutsche Messe AG, the event's organizer, said. “We want to show energy-efficient ways of using information and communications technology and how the application of ICT solutions can save power. Investing in green IT is an obvious step for anyone who is interested in reducing energy costs and at the same time wants to contribute to climate protection.”

According to Green IT Guide: The CeBIT Magazine, the research of Jonathan G. Koomey, PhD, a project scientist for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., shows that the equivalent of five 1,000-mw power stations operate for the sole purpose of powering data centers in the United States. Additionally, the power consumption of server centers worldwide is equivalent to the output of 14 power stations. These statistics show an overwhelming need for data centers to become more energy-efficient.

“If a company saves 30 percent on energy costs for operating its data center, that savings is directly reflected on the balance sheet,” Ernst Raue, chairman of the managing board of Deutsche Messe AG, said. “This is more than simply a pipe dream. It is the level of technology on exhibit throughout the CeBIT trade fair.”

In his keynote speech, Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., noted that the company would be releasing a set of best practices for data centers.

“The best practices will be made available on Microsoft's Website and will detail information on site selection for clean and renewable power, space optimization, and manageability to ensure efficiency of data-center services and infrastructure- and power-prioritization tactics for choosing servers and equipment that draw less power and produce less heat,” the company said in a press release.

Said Ballmer: “We're focused on reducing computer power consumption and on finding new ways to use software and information technology to help protect the environment by enabling people to use energy more efficiently.”

According to Robert Bunger, director of North American business development for APC's enterprise product group: “The need for companies to become more efficient is not only driven by the ‘green’ trend, but also the simple fact of saving money in a time with rising energy costs. Cooling is the single largest energy load in the data center, outside of the IT equipment.”

High-density IT loads are a chief concern regarding data-center cooling, Bunger said.

Several companies “have products that bring the cooling/heat rejection very close to where the heat is generated,” Bunger said. “This allows customers to deploy high-density IT gear, which saves space, energy, and manpower.”

Besides technology and infrastructure, CeBIT's areas of focus included business, public-sector, and home and mobile solutions. U.S. exhibitors included Extech Instruments, FedEx, Intellon, Microsoft, Parasoft, Texas Memory Systems, Unison, and Yahoo.

For more information about CeBIT, go to www.cebit.de.