A panel of experts debates why efficient IT makes good business sense.
Owner and founder, DATACENTRE.ME
IT costs money… lots of money.
And within that, one of the largest costs is that of the energy used. But it’s not just the power that the IT equipment uses – it’s the power needed to get rid of all the heat the servers and network equipment produce.
Often, particularly in company server rooms, the cost of running the cooling system is an additional 100 to 200 per cent. That can be a massive amount of energy used, not to mention the huge additional cost.
That’s where a well-designed and professionally-run commercial data centre really scores. The data centre industry has put massive effort over recent years into solving this energy inefficiency. Now, a combination of advanced design and economies of scale means modern data centres only need 20 – 50 per cent additional energy for the cooling, meaning that a good, modern data centre can be twice as efficient as in-house server rooms.
This all goes towards making IT more efficient, more affordable and far kinder to the planet.
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Prof Ian Bitterlin
Chair, EMEA Technical, Working Group, The Green Grid
Sustainable IT is good business for the planet and for bottom lines. Data-generation, transmission and storage for business, scientific research, education, medicine and social applications is growing exponentially – and this needs energy to power it.
In the 1860s, William Jevons predicted that increasing the energy efficiency of any process leads to greater consumption: his paradox, the “Rebound Effect”, has proven correct for the growth of internet traffic. Combating this deluge of data, exacerbated by faster networks and the “internet of things”, the energy effectiveness of ICT hardware has been following a similar, but consistently smaller, exponential growth curve – to the point where keeping hardware such as servers beyond two to three years is proving uneconomical.
Metrics for analysing, and improving energy performance of ICT systems that are now being adopted in ISO standards. Only with continuous improvement in energy effectiveness can we ensure that sustainable IT is good for business.
General manager, Riello UPS
Efficient IT obviously has cost-saving benefits, not least in terms of energy bills. Looking at the bigger picture, smart grid technology, which is ideal for the power-hungry IT industry, further reduces the amount of power drawn from the National Grid – reducing costs, improving corporate social responsibility and, most importantly, limiting the pressure on our increasingly strained power infrastructure.
European directives for businesses on energy management will be coming into force before 2016*, at which point businesses will have to undergo an energy audit to ensure they are doing their part to reduce power consumption.
Considering both the current issues with the UK power structure and forthcoming European regulations, it makes good business sense for firms to voluntarily run IT efficiently now, rather than to have their hand forced in a couple of years.
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*EU directive 2012/27/UE
Head of Energy and Environment, techUK
There are two kinds of efficient ICT. The first, sometimes called “green ICT”, refers to the ICT itself – where the computing devices and systems are energy efficient. Then there is ICT that delivers efficiencies elsewhere – such as online car tax applications, teleworking or transport logistics, sometimes called “enabling ICT”. While enabling ICT can deliver much greater energy savings, both are equally important. Our High Tech: Low Carbon report sets this out.
Energy efficiency is also of critical importance in data centres. Data centres are relatively new features on our urban landscape. They effectively consolidate computing activity – in other words, instead of leaving servers distributed around offices in cupboards and rooms, they are all kept together offsite in purpose-built facilities. This one action reduces energy consumption by about half. Nevertheless, a whole mythology has built up around the way data centres use energy. In a series of papers, techUK has debunked these myths and explained what data centres do and why we need them.
CEO/MD, CNet Training
Many people perceive day-to-day IT-related activities such as surfing the net, checking email or texting
as free, when we all know that it actually isn’t. Everything IT-related has a direct and indirect cost, everything is powered and requires storage and processing costs, culminating in costs that eventually have to be paid for by the organisation, individual or cloud provider.
However, all IT feeds back to a data centre, the brain of the operation where everything is securely processed and stored. Data centres are expensive to run and enormously expensive if they experience outages, so IT efficiency and efficiency of systems, processes and management are an absolute must. With the right professional knowledge and skills the data centre could function to optimum efficiency and provide a consistently high level of service to benefit everyone. Without it, costs of business will rise, businesses will fail and the economy will be damaged. Efficient IT is not an option, it is a global necessity.