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It's good to be Green

With Leonardo DiCaprio recently appointed by the UN as a Climate Change representative, the challenges inherent in our ever-increasing use of our planet’s resources is again front page news.  Given that many of us don’t feel we experience the impacts of climate change first hand, it can be easy to dismiss the need to take action and so the UN’s step of appointing a high-profile advocate is a smart way of keeping it front of mind.

Being a Global Citizen in the datacentre

As individuals many of us do little things every day to address our own unique impact on the environment.  We recycle, switch off lights, install smart meters and try not to leave devices charging overnight.  So why does this not always happen in the datacentre?

There are numerous reasons.  Some organisations don’t know what their datacentre energy utilisation is, or where to start when it comes to consolidating infrastructure to optimise consumption.  Some datacentres were built decades ago and need to undergo a complete review rather than simply adding more hardware and cooling, but you don’t want someone walking around your datacentre just turning under-used servers off….  IT decision makers can struggle to secure budget for what the wider business may view as a housekeeping exercise, but our attitude to power in datacentres needs to change and here’s why:

Powerful stats

Here are our top five stats from recent analyst surveys that should make everyone pay attention:

These figures mean data centres are in the sights of political and regulatory groups as well as non-governmental organisations or pressure groups.  Failure to address it will risk significant PR issues and potentially trigger politicians to create more layers of regulation. 

Saving power reduces emissions, wastage and saves money

Earlier in 2014 Gartner published a paper showing a 62% difference between the best performers, and average performers in IT costs per server.  This variance demonstrates that there are huge disparities in the ways in which datacentres use their energy and that there are many opportunities to make improvements.  This all points to missed opportunities for organisations to save power, money, and meet Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targets.

The Uptime Institute reports that a typical datacentre has an average Power Usage Effectiveness(PUE) of 2.5 – this means that for every 2.5W in, only 1W is delivered to the IT load.  The Institute also believes that most facilities can (using 2014 technologies) achieve a PUE of 1.6 – again, delivering both cost savings and a reduction in the carbon footprint of the business.

If the analysts’ predictions are correct, we are facing rapid increases in energy demand alongside scarcity of resources and rising costs.  To make sure that our businesses are equipped for the future, we need to put sustainability at the heart of our datacentre plans, not just for the sake of our businesses but for the sake of our future.

You don’t have to try to save the planet:

Green IT doesn’t mean having a knitted datacentre where all the technicians wear sandals and eat museli and it doesn’t mean that you have to take a public stance on climate change.  All organisations should have a goal of being best in class with regards to power consumption, it not only makes good financial sense, and it’s our responsibility to the environment and protects our corporate reputation.


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