A couple times a year, I assess and try to get rid of the ‘stuff’ that seems to accumulate in my life. When I look at just how much clutter I’ve yet to get rid of, now-defunct laptops, disk drives, and cell-phones fall into my line of vision. Sure, we’re supposed to recycle the gear. That goes without saying. But does that really happen as it should? According to Gartner, only 44 percent of PCs entering the secondary market will be reused. In today’s economy we need to think about the big picture, the total cost—and impact—of ownership. It’s no longer about the cost of a single phone, laptop, or disk. We need to consider the overall value and utility of the device or service so we’re not spending unnecessarily and churning out landfill. The same is true when it comes to the enterprise. We need to shift our focus from near-term efficiencies to sustainable efficiencies.If you’re being talked into a green switch, you need to do a reality check: Is it upgradeable? Will it need to be replaced in a year or so? Is it being marketed by vendors that may not even be in business next year? A focus on point power utilization, without taking into account the TCO of the network–including cooling and ongoing support costs and overall functionality, which might even enable greater efficiencies–is like driving many miles out of your way to buy cheap gas. It’s short-sighted.Could there come a day that I don’t need to replace my phone or computer every two years? A phone that is upgradable? Possibly a laptop with the modularity that would permit me to upgrade the disk drive or the processor? Or, in the case of disk storage, an infrastructure that would permit me to store everything off-site at lower cost? I’m sure that environmentally, a disk in the cloud, if secured, will be the best bet. In fact, for my private email, instead of running a server at home for the past six months, I’ve used a hosted solution. How does this relate to the enterprise?We’ve got to take a more holistic approach to green. Whether on the home front or the business front, we need to be looking at what we can buy for the long-term, or move services to the cloud. We call this a flight to quality, looking at upgradability and ongoing vendor support. And it’s all part of a vision in which, over time, you could walk into a datacenter and see switches or routers first deployed years ago, but still useful. And suddenly, the future looks greener. I’m excited about this new green blog and look forward to a lively exchange of ideas. Please join the conversation and share your thoughts around green trends and topics in your world.