Can Technology Be Green In Troubled Times?

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Despite the recession, companies need to forge ahead with energy saving – not least because of the imminent UK mandatory Carbon Reduction Commitment

These statistics paint a scary picture for any organisation, especially a local authority or government department that has limited resources. The environment was the topic for 2008, but as we move further into 2009 The Credit Crunch and recession have now superseded this. In this climate, energy efficiency is even more imperative as prudent measures not only save the planet but can dramatically reduce operational expenditure (OpEx). However, the CRC is due to take effect in 2010 and there seems to be a lot of work still to be done to prepare the public sector.

Need for change

To meet the Carbon Reduction Commitment, local authorities need to look further than the obvious energy saving measures. They need to holistically review all aspects of their IT infrastructure, especially the data centre. It may sound obvious, but by examining the total cost of ownership (TCO) of every data centre component – from server port through to the storage device – organisations can save thousands of pounds per device per year. There are technologies available today that have been specifically engineered to deliver significant energy savings, and local authorities should seek these out wherever possible. Putting some effort into researching these solutions now will reap huge rewards in the long term.

If you feel that this is too much effort, think on… the situation will continue to get worse if left unchecked. For example, with the amount of email being stored growing at an insurmountable rate, and compliance legislation requiring companies to store and manage files for ever increasing time periods, storage demand will continue to grow. According to IDC projections, the total volume of corporate data worldwide for 2010 is likely to be near a zetabyte (one billion terabytes) compared to 255 exabytes that was projected in 2007. Delay and you will quickly sink under the increased data volumes and begin to burn OpEx.

Another way local authorities can improve their IT infrastructure is by implementing a green storage policy. The more efficient you are the fewer resources you consume; resources cost money and they also contribute to the global issue of resource usage. The less power needed to run a device the less heat it will generate; the less heat it generates the less cooling is required; and reduced cooling requires less power. Typically the reduced power consumption comes from reducing the number of components in the device, allowing for higher density per square foot. This in turn means more available space in the data centre and less need for expansion, which is another way to lower company overheads.

Going green means that organisations must re-examine all aspects of their IT operations including facilities, people, and infrastructure, so they can proactively implement best-practice strategies and identify areas where they can achieve greater power efficiencies.

A lot of the time it’s simply about reviewing one’s IT environment and looking at ways to create greater efficiencies. There are a number of solutions on the market that provide organisations with a low risk way to evolve their IT infrastructures for maximum performance, flexibility, and investment protection, while enabling operational success. Consolidation platforms make it extremely easy for companies to implement and gain greater performance, scalability and cost savings. Reducing the number of physical appliances deployed automatically reduces energy usage, thereby saving money. It’s simple maths.

With the British Government aiming to cut UK carbon emissions to 80 percent by 2050, local authorities can’t afford to ignore this advice. Whilst this may require an initial outlay both the environmental and financial benefits recognised in the long term will be worth it. Even with increased financial pressure local authorities should not be giving up on their green crusade, as the costs associated with ignoring it are far too great.

Simon Pamplin is systems engineer manager UK & Ireland at Brocade