Pomeroy IT Solutions on going green Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2008

As with most other areas in today’s

world, going green in the data center is a hot topic. There are a number of reasons to go green, energy efficiency being just one of them.

In fact, a study by Lawrence Berkeley

National Laboratories for the American

Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

determined that data centers can be as

much as 40 times more energy-intensive

than conventional office buildings.

“There are three Es to consider — environmental, energy and efficiencies,” says

Geoff Hanson, practice director of

servers and storage for Pomeroy IT

Solutions. “With the right green initiatives, you can help the environment, save

energy (and dollars) and create efficiencies that will also save money and help

the bottom line. The green movement is

starting to affect the IT department in a

big way.”

Smart Business spoke with Hanson to

glean further insights into greening up

the data center.

What exactly is a green data center?

A green data center is one designed

with the mechanical, lighting, electrical

and computer systems for maximum

energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact. The construction and

operation of a green data center includes

advanced technologies and strategies.

Does it cost or save to be green?

You can definitely save by becoming

green. Yes, there are investments needed,

but when properly planned and implemented, the savings can offset those

costs. The time it takes to realize maximum offsetting savings depends on a

number of factors.

What are the first steps to take to be green?

The first step a company can take does-n’t cost a dime and is not difficult. You

can easily start saving money by simply

turning off your desktops and monitors

at the end of the day. Companies can also

look at their server environments.

Through server consolidation and virtualization and implementing multicore

blade server technology, you will

improve the utilization of your server

hardware investments while reducing

your data center footprint, power, heating and cable management costs. Also,

through emerging technologies and

power management by chip manufacturers, servers can be powered down when

not utilized, thus realizing additional

power savings.

Another step would include consolidating and virtualizing storage into shared

storage pools and by implementing such

tools as de-duplication of data to save on

disk space. This helps to reduce the overall storage requirements and backup

costs and simplify data recovery.

A fourth step would include virtualizing

the desktop infrastructure and implementing Energy Star-compliant PCs,

monitors and/or thin clients. Companies

will realize energy-efficient gains in

power as well as improvements through

centralized systems management. Desktops also have the ability to be powered

down either manually or through automated tools to help reduce electrical use

and heat dissipation.

Other steps to take to move toward

going green would include the procurement area, changing the way equipment

is purchased. Procurement procedures

could be put in place to seek out Energy

Star-compliant equipment.

Are there other things that you can plan for

as you make changes or upgrades?

Many companies are building new

data centers and/or disaster recovery

facilities. As these facilities are being

architected, designed and constructed,

they should be looking at efficient structures and materials during the build out

process. There are new and improved

air handlers, water-cooling systems,

environmentally controlled computer

racks and energy-efficient hardware

available for tomorrow’s data centers

today. In many data centers, cool air is

pushed by air handlers through raised

computer room floors and drawn up

through perforated tiles into cabinets

and the hot air pulled through ceiling

return air ducts. Cables under the raised

floors that are spread throughout

restrict the flow. Companies are now

addressing cable management under

their raised floors to improve airflow.

Better cable management, cable trays

and/or air conduits are being utilized for

more efficient cooling.

A strong recommendation to organizations moving forward is to have assessments performed of their IT facilities’

environmental and energy footprints. It

is also extremely important to have

assessments performed on their servers,

storage, desktops, printing and networking infrastructures. These assessments

would allow them to better understand

their hardware utilization and the cost

savings that can be realized through consolidating and virtualizing their environments with new energy-compliant and

energy-efficient technologies. Regular

audits of the infrastructures should be

performed as a follow up to ensure

everything is being fully utilized.

GEOFF HANSON is the practice director of servers and storage for Pomeroy IT Solutions in Cincinnati. Reach him at (602) 690-6376

or ghanson@pomeroy.com.