Business IT energy efficiency

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Zonbu PC

Business IT energy efficiency is an approach for improving the energy efficiency associated with IT equipment. The basic methodology is to

  1. Define the work program and get management support
  2. Measure the current situation to establish a baseline
  3. Identify opportunities for efficiency improvements
  4. Establish targets and policy
  5. Develop roadmaps, obtain budget and establish projects and governance to achieve outcomes

Define the work program and get management support

The work program needs to be defined and approved as an initial task. This usually involves the development and signoff of a Program Management Plan (PMP) for the initiative. The PMP will detail the scope, objectives, funding, broad strategy and key stakeholders for the program. It is recommended that both business and technology management support is confirmed.

Establish baseline power usage of IT equipment (and premises)

This should include:

  • Total power consumption for data centres (may require some data consolidation &/or data warehouse work)
  • Power consumption of “equipment types” including:
    • Server type 1 (entry)
    • Server type 2 (mid, dual processor)
    • Server type 3 (mid, 4-8 multi processor)
    • Server type 4 (blade servers, per blade)
    • Mainframes
    • Desktops
  • Airconditioning
  • Uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units

Include audits of total numbers of various hardware types, and link power consumption to greenhouse emissions.

Identify opportunities for efficiency improvements

  • Assess power consumption requirements of modern processors (multi core, 60nm, low voltage)
  • Identify candidates for new models to replace existing units
  • This could include consolidation of numerous “horizontally scaled” individual servers onto bigger multicore and multiprocessor servers . Server virtualisation can allow aggregation of multiple under-utilised servers onto more energy efficient server infrastructure.
  • Use server and/or web-based applications where possible to extend desktop service life and reduce desktop software maintenance.

Establish targets and policy

  • Set achievable emission reduction targets (e.g. reduce CO2 emissions by 15% in 2007/2008).
  • Enact a sustainable procurement policy for the acquisition, usage and disposal of computer hardware to minimise energy consumption and environmental impact.
    • Specify low energy consumption level in Request for Tender documents.
  • Shift to 5 year desktop and laptop equipment leases.

Develop roadmaps, obtain budget and establish projects and governance to achieve outcomes

  • Establish accountabilities for governance and delivery
  • Establish a governing body of key management stakeholders to monitor progress
  • Establish roadmaps for achieving the targets (e.g. server refresh and/or consolidation, desktop refresh etc)
  • Measure progress regularly (at least monthly)

See also