The Role of Data Centres in Advancing Green IT: A Literature Review

Anand Santhanam, Christina Keller


The explosion in data consumption and data generation has led to expansion of data centers, which are significant stakeholders in obtaining sustainability. This paper investigates what role data centers can play in advancing sustainability and green IT by performing a literature review. The purpose of the review was to provide a holistic framework that can help to position current and new research on the factors influencing the implementation of green IT in the data center. The review was limited to peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. The reviewed papers were analyzed by inductive content analysis, which created the five categories of 1) power savings, 2) cost savings, 3) sustainability and green energy, 4) information technology for greening data centers, and 5) aligning business requirements with resource utilization. Based on these categories, a framework describing how data center can contribute to green IT was created. Power savings and cost savings were found to influence as well as contribute to choices and development of information technology for greening data centers. Also, the categories of sustainability and green energy and alignment of business requirements of business utilization have a bi-directional relationship with information technology used in data centers. The findings further indicate that there is a need to study the alignment of business requirements with resource utilization due to a lack of publications in this area.


Data center, Green IT, Green IS, Sustainability, Literature review

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