Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Spring 2010


Tugrul Daim

Course Title

Decision Making

Course Number

ETM 530/630


Technology -- Management, Decision support systems, Management information systems, Information technology -- Decision making


Most businesses today rely on IT systems in order to not only enhance their productivity of business processes but also increase their successes relative to the company strategies. Due to decreasing costs of hardware and software, companies are increasingly implementing new systems to solve business problems in a cost effective fashion. This has led to the proliferation of hardware systems within many companies. Perhaps those most affected are the mid-range companies, like the one in this study, that require sophisticated systems but oftentimes lack sufficient IT staff and budget to meet the strategic ambitions of the company. In this context, power consumption has become a consideration that must be included in IT decisions. For example, IEEE Spectrum projects that within five years (i.e., by 2015), the cost of power for data centers will surpass the cost of the equipment [1].

This study focuses on the technology purchasing decisions of a mid-sized firm (500 employees) that increase the energy efficiency of its computing systems while meeting its business objectives. For example, if company growth requires implementation of a more robust and up-to-date customer tracking system and includes hiring ten new employees, what course should be followed to ensure a reduction in energy consumption as well as the achievement of company business goals? Should the company purchase a couple of additional servers with limited capacity for growth or should the company replace 20 aging rack servers with six state-of-the-art servers for consolidation and the hosting of virtual machines? And should the company supply the new employees with new CRT monitors or recycle some that have been in storage? There are several alternatives that the firm can use to achieve its goals. This paper evaluates four technologies for their impact on the reduction of energy consumption by company’s computing systems: server virtualization, desktop virtualization, replacement of existing CRT monitors and PC power management.

Based on the four technologies, we have developed a decision model for identifying the alternative the firm should invest in for improving the energy efficiency of their IT systems. The decision model is based on experts’ opinions by assessing several factors of each technology. The next section addresses how we developed this decision model using decision theory and experts’ judgments.


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