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Cisco Goes Green with New Partner Program

We want to believe. We really do. We love the IBM commercials with the cartoon pixies dancing around executives, and we're ready to buy into the promise of green technology -- the cost savings, the benefits to the planet, the overall feel-good nature of the whole thing.

But last time we checked -- and that's not meant to be a cliché; we literally mean the last time we checked -- green technology, green IT or whatever you want to call it was still more hype than reality. Way more, actually.

Now, we'll admit that the last time we checked on green IT was last summer (the story linked was from August) and a few things have changed since then. Look at your 401K if you need any reminder of that. So it's possible that green IT projects have gathered steam in the last few months, but we're more inclined to say that with budgets and possibly IT teams shrinking, any sort of new or proposed green activity has probably been put on the shelf like a house plant.

So it's into this hype-reality dichotomy that a very big player, Cisco, wanders with a team of partners. The networking titan has created the EnergyWise program, which focuses on controlling network power usage. A few hearty souls have also signed up for the journey, including Schneider Electric, Veridem and SolarWinds. They'll integrate their applications into Cisco products, specifically the Catalyst line of switches.

While Cisco's program seems to have an ISV focus for the time being, it should serve as an invitation for channel partners of all stripes to grow their competencies in green IT and jump on the back of a vendor that's making a concrete commitment to environmentally friendly technologies. EnergyWise is a big step in converting green technology from hype to reality, especially given that the Cisco name is attached to it.

Microsoft's own green plans seem circumspect and somewhat non-specific at this point, so we'll have to wait and see how Redmond plans to turn talk into action on the green front. Of course, technologies such as virtualization, in which Microsoft is making a heavy commitment, have green elements in their very nature (so to speak). But Microsoft is mostly green around the edges right now and not so green at its heart.

Cisco, though, believes -- or is at least taking concrete steps to show that it's making a commitment to green IT. We still want to believe, too, and maybe this major vendor throwing its name behind a green-specific initiative and recruiting partners for it will help reality begin to approach hype. For partners, that could turn green IT into greenbacks -- and everybody could use more of those.

What's your green IT strategy? Are you making money by helping customers go green? Tell us at

Posted by Lee Pender on 01/28/2009 at 1:22 PM


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