Hudson Valley Bank was confident that its 2009 server and storage virtualization projects would reap ample benefits, such as slicing data center power consumption in half, a rosy outlook validated by well-schooled local grad students.

The students from Polytechnic Institute of New York University this past spring evaluated energy consumption in different areas of the Yonkers, N.Y.-based bank's data center using metrics such as power usage effectiveness (PUE), according to Andres Fortino, associate provost for corporate graduate programs at Polytechnic Institute in Hawthorne, N.Y. They also analyzed the costs of operating the data center before and after the green IT implementations. This included the investments required to replace 50 underutilized servers with ten newer Dell boxes under the server virtualization project plus the implementation of energy-efficient Dell EqualLogic SAN arrays and an IBM iSeries mainframe and the energy savings from using those devices. "The (students') results were very strong and made us very comfortable about what we were doing," says Howard Bruck, CIO for the $2.4 billion-asset bank.

Banks are implementing complex "green IT" projects that can benefit from IT professionals formally trained to leverage virtualization, cloud computing, solid-state storage, and changes in data center layout and design to minimize heating and cooling costs. While it's still not possible to earn a grad degree in green IT at most U.S. universities, coursework and certification-type training is growing.

For example, The Howe School of Technology Management at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. decided not to create green IT courses or four-course concentrations to its graduate programs last year after surveying advisory council CIOs, but it does include green IT topics in three required graduate courses. Course content includes tactical approaches that can be used to help gain executive buy-in on sustainable technology investments, says Jerry Luftman, distinguished professor and director of information systems program at Howe.

And it is possible to find a school that offers a full-on green IT focus. For instance, IBM teamed up with Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Neb. in September to create a two-year green data center management program featuring classroom or online instruction.

Other green IT learning, such as vendor or technology specific computer-based or trainer led courses that result in certifications, are gaining traction. Peter Chrulski, who handles business development for IT training vendor Countrywide Training, says demand for certification in virtualization technology has been moderate-to-high in the past several months. "We're getting a lot of requests for proposals from corporations for HyperV and VMWare training programs because of the cost effectiveness of virtualization for companies," Chrulksi says.

There are also lower price remote learning options. Train Signal Computer Training, which offers DVD-based training, says VMWare training is one of its hottest products, and banks the biggest buyers. "Since classroom training has gone down, people are looking for cheaper alternatives," says Iman Jilali, director of sales and marketing for Train Signal. "Classroom training usually costs between $3,000 and $5,000 per person, but our products range between $300 and $500 per person."

Green data center design training is harder to come by, but Global Learning Corp. partners with a vendor to offer online learning courses, including basic topics like, "Making Energy Efficient Changes" and "Measuring Data Center Efficiency" to more granular courses around UPS and cooling technologies.

Wherever you get it, green certification is a smart career move. "Right now, it's the hottest thing out there," Jilali says. "People who have experience in virtualization definitely have something to offer."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.