Green IT - it doesn’t have to cost the earth

Becoming 'green' does not mean riping and replacing your existing kit, there are many practical steps the IT manager can take to go green and keep in the black.


For businesses today, being in the black is of course good news. However, there is now pressure for businesses to reduce their impact on the environment and go green. The most obvious target for this pressure is the IT department, particularly the datacentre where the majority of storage and servers sit, consuming energy to keep them powered and cooled.

As new “green IT” products are released every day, many businesses feel they are being bullied into thinking that the only way to have green IT is to get rid of their existing IT equipment and replace it, even if it still works perfectly. However, being green doesn’t have to cost the earth, and certainly shouldn’t mean sacrificing the IT budget.

There are practical steps that can be taken in order to make the datacentre more environmentally friendly that don’t involve ripping and replacing the entire infrastructure.

Firstly, businesses can use techniques such as virtualisation to increase utilisation and allow them to consolidate the number of servers and storage devices they need. This can also help to reduce the number of devices the business needs to replace over time as they reach the end of their lifecycle. Not only does this reduce the amount of old equipment needing to be disposed of but also helps to save the company money as it doesn’t need to purchase as many devices.

Secondly, a review of current datacentre design can highlight areas where changes can be made that will have an effect on how green the datacentre is. Most datacentres are filled with new servers that today contain dual and quad-core processors as standard. While server specs are continually getting higher, the majority of business applications don’t actually need all that processing power in order to run at peak performance.

Yet, despite how much, or little, processing power is actually required by the application, all the server’s processors continue to consume the same maximum amount of energy. A simple solution for businesses that don’t require this intense level of processing is to use intelligent power management software to limit the power of the processors, thus reducing the amount of energy used without affecting application performance.

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