Green — it’s in the air. Even though the Northeast has already seen more above average snowfall, and temperatures are regularly below freezing, the Christmas trees, boughs of holly, and mistletoe that are annual indicators winter is here are hardly the only greenery to be found.
Indeed, though it has taken more time than it should have, businesses across North America are focusing efforts on going green, especially in light of mounting pressure from the corporate world and government and political entities.
Among the approaches to becoming more environmentally responsible, businesses are taking a closer look at their IT infrastructures. Specifically, they are turning to their IT departments and providers to address the need to shrink their carbon footprints.
The New Year will certainly provide ample opportunity for businesses to move forward with their green programs. To help them, business and technology solutions provider EDS has enlisted the EDS Fellows to draw a roadmap, which can help lead businesses down the green brick road. No, they won’t end up at the Emerald City, but will have done their part to help preserve the environment, while also improving their IT infrastructures.
To help guide businesses on their quest to become greener, EDS has outlined eight steps they can follow to decrease energy consumption.
- Virtualize Servers — By evolving from the traditional “one application, one server” model, server virtualization allows multiple applications to operate securely within the same physical server. In the process, businesses will increase server utilization from 15-20 percent currently to 80-90 percent. Clearly, fewer servers can significantly reduce energy consumption.
- Turn off Unused Servers — “The easiest power to save is the power that isn’t used.” Ensuring servers and drives are on only when in use requires sophisticated operating processes that can bring the hardware online during peak usage periods, but at other times, keeping them off can save both energy and costs.
- Employ Power Saving Techniques — Power saving profiles are already common in most laptops, so this is hardly a new phenomenon. During periods of lower demand, servers can be run at lower speeds, decreasing energy consumption without impacting service levels. Naturally, choose servers with the highest power supply efficiency available is an obvious move.
- Optimize Applications — Application optimization will not only cut the strain on servers, but will create a more efficient operation overall. Bloated or inefficient software, as well as software with little business value should be considered for replacement, optimization, or even elimination.
- Perform Rigorous Maintenance — Regular, rigorous maintenance to ensure maximum operating efficiency will improve overall network efficiency. This can also be accomplished by evaluating and modifying the layout and configuration of equipment to more efficiently utilize cooling technology.
- Higher Density, Multi-Core CPUs — Installing newer, multi-core CPU designs provides increased efficiency simply due to lower voltage requirements. Ensuring fewer blades in racks by investing in 8, 16, 24, or even more “processors on a chip” will driving efficiencies and cut electricity usage.
- Operating the Infrastructure — For long, businesses have sought out the least expensive computing alternatives, and have neglected to pay attention to ensuring they have they are operating an efficient infrastructure — despite those infrastructures being critical to the success of the business as well as the well being of modern society overall. When evaluating TCO, businesses must be careful to accurately weigh the CAPEX against the OPEX (News - Alert), which frequently will shift the balance towards efficiency, despite slightly higher acquisition and deployment costs.
- Cash in on Being Green — Innovation and real-world application of technology that can have a tangible impact in enterprise environments is crucial. Being green is good, but ensuring your customers understand the value of your efforts, and benefit from them, is equally important. Technology that require integrated IT to function, and result in real efficiencies will see a sharp increase in demand, thus providing rapid ROI.
Indeed, the world as a whole is quickly becoming more focused on green technology, and the coming years will provide ample opportunity for vendors, service providers, and customers alike to benefit from energy efficient solutions. As businesses become more aware of the benefits of lowering their carbon footprints, those that are quick to adopt green measures will not only do well by the environment, but will also find themselves with a competitive advantage over the competition.
So, as 2008 looms, and as you make the resolution to Go Green is 2008, starting with these eight steps will put you well on your way to making a New Year’s resolution that won’t be broken.
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and Unified Communications (News - Alert). Prior to joining TMC, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.
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