Energy efficiency: How did IBM's IT Go Green?

By November 21, 2008

Most of IT’s energy consumption is by datacenters; in some industries the data center is responsible for 30-40% of a company’s energy consumption, and have doubled their energy use in the last five years. IBM was able to da

ta-center reduce energy consumption by 80%. IBM’s Christopher O'Connor, vice president of strategy and market management, shared the company’s strategy with ZDNet. Here’s a quick resume of his tips:

Gain visibility into energy consumption of the data center. At most places, IT never sees the bills, O’Connor says, so it doesn’t understand its energy consumption.

Identify resources that can be unplugged. As much as 10 percent of IT resources are underutilized. Use tools with automated discovery capabilities like Paxterra to consolidate resources.

Turn up the temperature in the data center. Most centers are kept at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is colder than necessary. Turning down the AC saves money.

Compress information. Saved information increases storage needs, which in turn increases energy consumption.

Consolidate and virtualize. If a company increases its server virtualization to 30%, it can reduce the number of needed servers by 50%.

In addition to these great suggestions, O’Connor highly recommends online collaboration instead of travel. “By using instant messaging, web conferencing and other social networking tools instead of travel, the company estimates that it is saving $113 million per year in employee travel.”

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