Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Green IT - Tips to successfully implement it (1/2)

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"Going green" is the hot new trend in the business world, and IT department is no exclusion. If implemented correctly, the eco-friendly tactics can make your operations more efficient and save you money, lots of money. The goals of green IT include minimizing the use of hazardous materials, maximizing energy efficiency, and encouraging recycling and/or use of biodegradable products - without negatively affecting productivity.

Here are a few tips to help you implement / incorporate Green IT principals in your IT business.

1. Buy energy efficient hardware

Most important... Today's business require hardware that meets the EPA’s Energy Star guidelines for lower power consumption. Key is that one should look for systems that have good EPEAT ratings (www.epeat.net). The ratings use standards set by the IEEE to measure "environmental performance." All EPEAT-registered products must meet Energy Star 4.0 criteria. Multicore processors increase processing output without substantially increasing energy usage. Also look for high efficiency (80%) power supplies, variable speed temperature controlled fans, small form factor hard drives, and low voltage processors.

2. Use power management technology and best practices
Modern operating systems running on Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI)-enabled systems incorporate power-saving features that allow you to configure monitors and hard disks to power down after a specified period of inactivity. Systems can be set to hibernate when not in use, thus powering down the CPU and RAM as well. Hardware vendors have their own power management software, which they load on their systems or offer as options. There are also many third-party power management products that can provide further flexibility and control over computers’ energy consumption. Other technologies, such as Intel’s vPro, allow you to turn computers on and off remotely, thus saving energy because you don’t have to leave systems on if you want, for example, to schedule a patch deployment at 2:00 A.M.

3. Use virtualization technology to consolidate servers
You can reduce the number of physical servers, and thus the energy consumption, by using virtualization technology to run multiple virtual machines on a single physical server. VMWare claims that its virtualized infrastructure can decrease energy costs by as much as 80 percent. The same type of benefits can be realized with Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology, which is an integrated operating system feature of Windows Server 2008.

4. Consolidate storage with SAN/NAS solutions
Just as server consolidation saves energy, so does consolidation of storage using storage area networks and network attached storage solutions. The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) proposes such practices as powering down selected drives, using slower drives where possible, and not overbuilding power/cooling equipment based on peak power requirements shown in label ratings.

5. Optimize data center design
Data centers are huge consumers of energy, and cooling all the equipment is a big issue. Data center design that incorporates hot aisle and cold aisle layout, coupled cooling (placing cooling systems closer to heat sources), and liquid cooling can tremendously reduce the energy needed to run the data center. Another way to "green" the data center is to use low-powered blade servers and more energy-efficient uninterruptible power supplies, which can use 70 percent less power than a legacy UPS.

Optimum data center design for saving energy should also take into account the big picture, by considering the use of alternative energy technologies (photovoltaics, evaporative cooling, etc.) and catalytic converters on backup generators, and from the ground up, by minimizing the footprints of the buildings themselves. Energy-monitoring systems provide the information you need to measure efficiency. This Microsoft TechNet article discusses various ways to build a green data center.

Click here for Part 2 of this series...

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