Tools for Measuring the Benefits of Green IT

Patrick Avery

Tough economic times have combined with increased government regulation -- and maybe even a sense of corporate responsibility -- to make Green IT the hottest topic in IT. But how do you cut through the buzz and quantify the business impact of initiatives that can range from internal green business incentives to elaborate changes in the way you build out and cool your data centers?


Our Green Data Center Energy-Efficiency Checklist is the tool to start with when investigating the basics of green technology plan development. The basics of a plan should involve upper management and all support staff agreeing to a specific set of energy conservation efforts and setting goals in a measurable way. The specifics involving data centers should include improving airflow, modifying cooling requirements to better ensure efficiency and shutting down inactive, or "comatose," servers.


The checklist goes further on data center efficiencies, adding that facilities management and IT management should set shared objectives and incentives that reward lower energy use. While some components and systems can be adjusted to improve efficiency, others need to be modified or replaced. Some items, such as variable speed fans (also known as VFD units) can be retrofitted into existing systems. The payoff for other ambitious projects, such as implementing solar power systems, is measured in years.


After mapping a course of action with the help of the Checklist, you can use several other tools offered in the Knowledge Network to quantify the impact of going green.


Green Data Center Calculator - "Comatose Servers"


This calculator gives users a quick approximation of the results you can expect from tracking down and decommissioning servers that are no longer performing useful work. For a little background on the topic, discuss the issue with our Mike Stevens here: Do you turn off comatose servers?


Green Data Center Calculator - Scheduled Server Power-Down


This document calculates the results you can expect from a temporary power down strategy, for example, powering down servers that are not required all day, every day (such as servers executing backup software) on a scheduled basis using technology such as Wake-on-LAN.


Green Data Center Calculator - Virtualization


This calculator will give users a quick approximation of the results you can expect from server virtualization - installing software that enables multiple applications to run on a single server, thus reducing the total number of servers in the data center.


True TCO Calculator


The True TCO Calculator presents a simple approach to enable managers to assess the true total costs of building, owning, and operating their data center physical facilities. This calculator characterizes the costs to build and operate a new data center for a high-density, high-performance computing financial services application. It includes estimates of key cost components, including site infrastructure capital costs, computer equipment costs, energy bills, and other operating expenses.


Determining True Cost of Ownership for Data Centers is a helpful primer, in addition to this calculator, created by the Uptime Institute.


For the latest Knowledge Network updates, follow us on Twitter.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 30, 2010 7:15 AM Oli Hille Oli Hille  says:

I like your energy efficiency checklist. Thanks.

Oli Hille


Post a comment





(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.



Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.