How Green are Your IT Services?

Read this post to learn how your IT team could be cutting costs for your company by saving energy and resources.

April 28, 2014 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

Go Green | How Green Are Your IT Services

Everyone today is thinking about sustainability and “going green.” This goes far beyond simply recycling soda cans at the office and turning down the thermostat at home. A huge challenge IT teams face today is how to handle waste while building sustainable programs. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans toss 47.4 million computers, 27.2 million televisions, and 141 million mobile devices annually. Approximately only 25 percent of those numbers are properly collected for recycling.

So where does this leave IT?

The first issue many IT teams need to deal with is proper disposal of hardware. While asset recovery can be a tedious process, it is important for the business as well as the planet. After properly removing all corporate information saved locally, each piece of hardware needs to be inventoried, including documenting manufacturer, model, serial number, and corporate asset ID tag. If there are CPUs that are still usable, just not within the corporate life-cycle, see if there are local schools or organizations that can benefit from the equipment. Just make sure everything is properly documented and the school or organization notes they have taken ownership of the property. Not only is the business helping an organization in the community by providing equipment they may not otherwise afford, there is a potential tax write-off to be gained.

For the items that are not viable for others to utilize, it is important to work with a reputable recycling company. The EPA endorses two programs, e-Stewards and R2. Both programs require regular independent audits to ensure best practices are adhered to during the recycling process.

Another place IT teams can find considerable savings is in the server room. For example, conservatively speaking, each server can use a minimum of 300 watts of power. A rack of blade servers, for example, may utilize anywhere from 10 to 12 kilowatts. Over the average four year life of a server, the total facility cap-ex and operational expense will be up to four times greater than the cost of the server itself. Needless to say all this power can really add up over time. There are a number of steps a business can take in order to reduce power consumption in the server room, which will in turn, save money as well as resources.

A good place to start is by taking a look at the fairly new UL2640 standard. According to UL, “With the introduction of the new standard, IT professionals for the first time can make valid comparison between servers, better calculate total cost of server ownership, and make more informed decisions about the life and management of their servers.” To calculate server performance using this standard, the IT team performs a series of standardized tests, including a Power-On Spike Test, a Boot Cycle Test and a Benchmark. The Benchmark results will determine the server’s power consumption under different loads and measures transactions per watt in seconds. This metric is particularly useful when comparing legacy systems with newer models. There may be instances when replacing old blades with new ones, while initially taking money from cap-ex, will in the long run saving money on facility management. This will also help when purchasing decisions arise and will help IT teams use actual power consumption metrics when allocating space and power.

One of the best ways to reduce power usage within the server room is to consider virtualization. By partnering with a company that can provide cloud computing via virtualization, power consumption rates within the business will be drastically reduced. The service provider, meanwhile, is already properly optimized for appropriate power levels. Even a hybrid model of local rack and cloud computing can save copious amounts of power, which ultimately means those dollars can be redirected to other IT projects.

These are just a few different ways to look at IT-related equipment and services and find ways to save energy, resources, and potentially work with the local community. As equipment becomes more energy-efficient and people are more like-minded when it comes to “going green,” corporate buy-in will be easier to come by.

The All Covered Difference

All Covered is here to work with you to introduce new ways that your company could be saving money by going green.  We’ll strive to reduce your company's power consumption rates while saving energy, resources, and money that can be allocated elsewhere. Contact us today at (866)446-1133 for more information or to schedule a consultation.