With the increased focus on environmental impact and carbon footprints, reducing energy consumption has become an important goal for many businesses.

According to Steve Sams, IBM's vice president of global site and facilities services, this goal not only benefits the environment, but also a company's bottom line.

In an interview with SmartPlanet.com, Sams noted that being strategic about data centers - through strategies such as outsourcing IT, virtualization initiatives or consolidating their servers - is one of the best ways for companies to reduce their energy consumption.

This is because data centers are a huge source of energy consumption - they currently use 2 percent of the total energy on the planet, Sams said. This figure doubles every five years, bringing the total energy consumption of data centers to 12 percent of the total global energy use by 2030.

Reducing energy consumption can also mean reducing IT costs - for every dollar saved on energy consumption, companies can save $4 to $5 on other operational costs, Sams said.

A recent survey from Gartner found that reducing energy consumption is a top priority for IT professionals - in particular, 68 percent of respondents said that data center energy management was their most important green IT issue for the next 18 months.

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