Using advanced virtualisation management as well as flash drives in datacentres could help businesses make a measurable green impact, but only if employees also understand best practice, a Fujitsu Siemens executive has warned.

Joseph Reger, chief technology officer at the PC supplier, said server virtualisation had clear green benefits because it had the potential to “vastly reduce” the amount of equipment in use. And PC virtualisation, or running a number of employees’ access to PCs off one server blade, was a “smart way to reduce energy consumption”.

“Within two to three years, it is quite feasible that many datacentres will use flash drives rather than traditional hard discs,” he said in an interview at Fujitsu Siemens’ annual VisIT event in Munich. “This takes up a lot less space and therefore needs less cooling, and is now as quick as traditional drives.”

But it was not worth businesses improving such technology without making sure employees also understood their own responsibility in energy consumption, he said.

“It’s about getting everyone on the same page. Companies need to give employees guidance on simple things like switching off monitors and desktops when they’re not using them, and switching off lights.

“It’s more practical to tell them these things, and monitor it, than presenting them with a kilowatt per hour figure for what they’ve used, which doesn’t mean much to a lot of people,” he said.

Reger encouraged companies to have a welcome message on all PCs each morning, telling people a green tip or showing how much power had been used overnight, translated into equivalent terms people more easily relate to, such as how many TVs or electric fireplaces would need to be running to use that energy.

He called for facilities management and IT teams to work more closely together to monitor energy usage. “I challenge you to ask how many CIOs know their electricity bill,” he said. “They often won’t know because facilities management receives that bill, even though IT plays a huge part in generating it.”

If they worked more closely together, he concluded, they would “soon realise” that installing technology to control energy usage would result in significantly lower consumption.