Everything Gone Green

2008: The Year for Greener and Leaner IT
by: Jerry Liao

Gartner Inc. released a list of 10 strategic technologies for 2008 and Green IT topped the list that companies should consider in their planning processes. The other strategic technologies for 2008 include unified communications, business process modeling, metadata management, virtualization 2.0, mashup and composite applications, web platform and WOA, computing fabric, real world web and social software.

To help corporations and governments kick-off the new year right, information technology (IT) providers, like EDS through its EDS Fellows have highlighted eight ways CIOs can extend the life of existing facilities and reduce the environmental impact of computing in 2008.

The first option is to move from the “one application – one server” paradigm many organizations have fallen into. Server virtualization allows multiple applications to operate securely within the same physical server. Moving the current average server utilization from 15-20 percent to 80-90 percent allows fewer servers to do more work using the same energy profile.

The easiest power to save is the power that isn’t used. Servers and disk drives should be on only when they are needed, so sophisticated operating processes must be in place to bring servers back online whenever increased demands require them to do so.

The third option is to employ power saving techniques now familiar to most laptop users. When demand allows it, organizations can run their servers at reduced speed which lessens their consumption of energy. In addition, an enterprise should always choose a sever with the highest power supply efficiency available with the selected configuration.

The fourth option is to optimize applications being run in the data center. Bloated software, inefficient software, or even software that produces very little business value all need to be pruned, optimized and even discontinued to put a lesser load on servers.

The fifth option is more fundamental, but also very achievable. Data center managers can improve the efficiency of their facilities by rigorous maintenance to ensure all equipment is operating at the peak of efficiency as well as modifying layout and configuration of equipment to reduce cooling requirements. These and many more efficiency steps will increase overall data center efficiency and lower the carbon footprint.

The movement to newer, multi-core CPU designs will deliver significant efficiencies, because of their lower voltage requirements. Eight, 16, 24 and higher “processors on a chip”allow for fewer server blades in a rack driving up efficiencies and driving down electricity usage.

We have become so accustomed to “cheap computing” that we have become lax in our process of procuring, deploying and operating the infrastructure upon which so much of our modern society depends. However, when an enterprise looks at total cost of ownership and electricity costs exceed the purchase price of a server, the equation shifts in favor of higher efficiency and rigor which is good for the bottom line as well as for the environment.

It is important to look for innovative applications of IT that makes real impacts for an enterprise and its customers. For example, an enterprise can use Dimmable Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) in electronic ballasts networked to sophisticated lighting control software that reduces electrical usage by up to 40 percent, or use programmable thermostats and schedules to standardize the temperature, pressure, humidity and set points for occupied and unoccupied periods in all buildings.

These technologies require integrated IT to function and provide a rapid return on investment. The world will see an explosion of IT being deployed as we move to a lower energy regime in new and existing buildings throughout society over the next several years. The business advantage of consuming less electricity reduces both the cost structure and carbon footprint of the enterprise, which is good for business and the planet.

The title of EDS Fellow is awarded to the company’s most innovative thought leaders in recognition of their exceptional achievements. Each Fellow has a proven track record of creating world-class solutions for clients. In addition to their academic achievements and invention history, the 24 Fellows average 25 years of industry experience and innovative technology implementations.

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