Greening Your IT Infrastructure by David Malmborg
How green is your IT infrastructure? Making your systems more eco-friendly is not only the right choice for the planet but also your bottom line. If you‘re looking to make changes in order to make your business more environmentally-conscious, here are some steps to get you started:
1. Evaluate your organization – Before you make any sweeping changes to your business, it’s a good idea to assess where you currently stand as a company. Where do you lie already engaging in best eco practices and where is there room for improvement? Start by making a thorough audit of all equipment and practices and outline some specific green goals in terms of reducing your energy expenses and eliminating waste.
2. Consolidate servers using virtualization – By some estimates, a typical x68-based server can consume up to 30 or 40 percent of its maximum power even when idle. Simply put, the more servers you have, the more power you’re wasting, both in terms of direct energy costs (what the servers consume themselves) and indirect energy costs (cooling). Consolidating servers can reduce much of that extra cost and energy waste by getting rid of servers that are unnecessary.
Typically, server consolidation is accomplished through virtualization technologies in which a one machine can be made to employ a number of different server operations. There are a number of real-time migration tools that can be used to make consolidation easier with very little-to-no down time required.
3. Optimize for cooling – You may be wasting energy by doing something as small as not organizing your data center properly. If your servers are currently spread out across an entire room (or even multiple rooms), for instance, you can save power and money by consolidating them physically as well as virtually. When you put server architecture together, you can keep it at the correct temperature without wasting money on cooling the entire data center.
Another “easy” fix is to align your servers in rows so the fronts of the servers are facing the fronts of other servers in the adjacent rows and the backs are facing backs. This is known as “hot aisle/cold aisle configuration, and it can have a significant impact on the amount of energy you expend to keep your servers at the optimal running temperature. With this, the hot air coming from the back of one server does not blow into the cool air intake in the front of other servers. You can also consider investing in a cooling solution that is designed for a high-density virtualized environment.
4. Use cloud computing – Cloud computing goes one step beyond virtualization in completely consolidating resources. Cloud computing vendors consolidate the systems of several clients, thus reducing overall carbon footprint. Both software as a service and cloud storage also have the benefit of being cost-effective, scalable, and easy to manage. They may also be a solution for smaller firms that lack the resources to establish a large datacenter.
5. Reduce equipment waste – Does your business have more equipment than it needs? What happens to your old hardware? Take stock of what you’re current plan is for the reuse and recycling of old equipment, and plan some steps to improve what you’re already doing.
6. Consider allowing employees to work from home – If your business model allows, consider letting your employees work from home at least part time. Reducing the number of employees that are physically present in your offices can save you on heating and cooling expenditures as well as power consumption. You may even be able to reduce the size of your office space. Eliminating employees’ commute is also a great way to reduce the overall footprint of your business.
Additional Benefits of a Green IT Infrastructure
Among the benefits associated with lower costs and a more efficient environment, companies that take the time to invest in green initiatives give their clients extra incentive to do business with them. Even during economic difficulties, many people prefer to buy from eco-friendly companies.
For more information on IT infrastructures and ways to make the necessary changes in this day in age, visit Dell.com here.