Energy Efficiency: Key To Optimal Future

Energy requirements of enterprises have seen a major change over the past few years. Although hardware today packs more of a punch in terms of performance per watt, the fact remains that an enterprise scale implementation, will collectively lead to monstrous amounts of energy consumption.

Current Trends

With data centre requirements growing, today, there really is a need for an enterprise to formulate an energy efficiency strategy. One more aspect of the equation revolves around managing legacy systems.

Speaking about legacy infrastructure, B Anil Kumar, chief manager, IIS Infrastructure, BPCL, says, "Though we all talk about adoption of green IT, the fact remains that you cannot simply throw away your legacy systems. While it is true that we do consider the green quotient while going in for new technology initiatives, cost still remains a deterring factor."

Green IT, per se is a relatively new term; however, an age-old tradition. Energy consumption has always been an issue for CXOs, however, today, technologies have changed, and so have the ways in which they interact. It is possible to achieve server consolidation using virtualisation initiatives, though every enterprise cannot afford to rip and replace their systems so easily.

The Key Lies In Strategy

Vendors are playing their role by releasing newer and more technologies into the market place. However, an important question that arises here is – ‘Is technology alone enough to sustain an efficient computing environment?’ In an ideal scenario maybe, however in reality, there are many things to be considered such as efficient cooling methodologies, utilisation strategies, and optimisation techniques.

Sandeep Phanasgaonkar, president and CTO, Reliance Capital, feels that enterprises today need to reduce their carbon footprint. He says, "It is important to have a smaller server footprint today. There has been a server sprawl over the past few years, so it is important to virtualise as many resources as possible. Virtualisation of servers, storage, networks, is the direction we need to move towards."

Alternative Strategies

Apart from consolidation in the data centre, many enterprises are embarking on conservation initiatives. Some CIOs believe that a software-based approach works well. Using automation techniques allows users the flexibility to properly utilise their resources. This also leads to a more efficient and tightly integrated computing atmosphere.

Speaking on some alternate techniques for conservation, Kumar says, "On the recycling front, we follow some simple measures. We don’t give away our old desktops, printers and other equipment to normal roadside vendors. We always follow the practice of buyback and make sure that disposed machines reach safe hands for being recycled. Printer cartridges are also not thrown away but given back to vendors so that they can be recycled properly."

Challenges

Lack of awareness is one of the biggest challenges plaguing these kind of initiatives. Kumar explains, "People should be educated about saving depleting natural resources for future generations. This awareness needs to encompass all walks of life, not merely workspaces or IT infrastructure."

"There's going to be a lot of virtualisation taking place, which means consolidation, concentration on computing, storage and the network. This is going to make it imperative to have the right kind of hardware and software in place. The important question here is whether we can virtualise mission critical systems or can we target only the quality testing and development environment of smaller, non-mission critical systems? However, one way or the other, this requires investments to be made and the investments in turn, will need to pay off. There might be a challenge here, considering one will need to ensure that the new virtualised environments are fully tested and the business is in no way impacted. In this case, reducing the footprint allows consolidation and we end up scaling vertically not horizontally," says Phanasgaonkar.

Green Future?

It is important for one to get past the buzz surrounding today’s green technologies and migrate to a more concrete game plan. Today, there are enterprises that are involved in exchange of carbon credits, experimental alternate cooling techniques etc. However, there are many more enterprises that need to join this initiative. The need of the day is to strategically cut down on emissions, reduce energy spend and optimise underutilised resources.

Apart from the ecological benefits that green technologies offer, they cause a good amount of cost savings within enterprises. At the end of the day, it does not make business sense to adopt green technologies purely from an ecological perspective. However, good business sense also dictates their adoption.

Updated Date: Apr 20, 2010 13:14:43 IST



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