December 17, 2014

Taking a Look at 2012 Green IT Trends

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One of the first posts we wrote when we launched this blog back in early 2011 was about Green IT trends and tips. Given how much time has passed, we thought it was time to take another look at current trends in Green IT.

Server Virtualization Rolls On

Then as now, server virtualization is still a big one. But as we noted in a recent post based on a conversation with Phil Magnuszewski, director of data center technologies at Carousel Industries, it’s not just big companies virtualizing their servers any more. Now small and medium size businesses are getting in on the savings virtualization brings. What’s more, big companies are diving deeper into the technology, virtualizing even mission critical applications, Magnuszewski says. It all adds up to a net decrease in the number of physical servers, which means less demand for power to operate and cool them.  For example, download this free Server Virtualization White Paper to learn how Carousel went from 100 servers down to 5 via server virtualization.

Increase Energy Efficiency with the Cloud

Virtualization, of course, is a key underpinning of cloud technology, which is another driver for increased IT energy efficiency. As we reported in a post last fall:

A report released this week by Pike Research, “Cloud Computing Energy Efficiency,” predicts that because of the shift to cloud computing, data center power consumption will decrease by 31 percent between 2010 and 2020.

There are a number of reasons for that savings, one being that cloud environments generally have a higher utilization rate than traditional data centers.  Here’s another reason from our previous post:

Cloud service providers are closely focused on energy efficiency as a matter of operating sustainability, not just because it happens to be a green thing to do. Increasingly, the largest of those providers including Google and Facebook, are sharing their tips and best practices for power reduction in the data center.

CFD Modeling Increases Cooling Efficiency

As we noted in that original post on Green IT tips, air conditioning generally accounts for a third to a half of the power demands of a data center. Given that, anything you can do to reduce the demand for air conditioning will result in a greener IT profile, not to mention real savings. As we covered in a previous post, one way companies are doing that today is using computational fluid dynamics to map air flows in their data centers. The idea is to learn how the air is flowing throughout the data center and change variables to see if you can come up with a more efficient flow. Typically, CFD experts can find ways to increase efficiency, sometimes dramatically so and often at relatively low cost, such as by adding blanking panels in racks to close up spaces where cool air escapes.


Dig Deeper: Download the Free Whitepaper- 6 Keys to Energy Savings in Your Data Center


Update Equipment for Energy Savings

IT equipment makers are also on the green bandwagon, of course, and are continually coming out with more energy efficient gear. The folks at Gartner offered a number of areas where IT can save money by updating equipment, as we reported previously. They include new servers that use more flash memory, which not only perform better but put out less heat – so they require less power to cool. And as we reported in that previous post:

There’s also a trend emerging toward “extreme low-energy servers” that use the collective power of thousands of tiny processors, the kind found in mobile devices. David Clearly, a Gartner VP and Fellow, put these sorts of servers on his list of top 10 strategic technology trends for 2012, saying they’ll be useful for fairly static processing loads, such as serving web pages, while using far less energy than traditional servers.

Likewise, newer UPSs are far more energy efficient than their predecessors, with a 99% energy efficiency rating as compared to older models that are often in the 80% to 92% range. Another idea: instead of installing KVMs on each server rack, each drawing electricity, set one up on a rolling cart so you can just push it to wherever you need it – and unplug it when you don’t.

Those are some of our latest ideas for a greener IT environment, but we’d love to hear yours. Feel free to offer some up in the comments below.  Seriously, we’re getting lonely here!

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