Is IT burning your energy budget?

In another life, I spend a lot of time looking at IT issues in large enterprises. This is a world of multi-million pound IT budgets and horrendous electricity bills. Some companies …

By
19th November 2007 at 7:12 am

In another life, I spend a lot of time looking at IT issues in large enterprises. This is a world of multi-million pound IT budgets and horrendous electricity bills. Some companies genuinely fear electricity shortages in the coming years, the consequences of which would be horrendous for companies large and small.

Imagine if you had no computing for a while. Would it trouble you? For how long?

It would sure as heck trouble me. Fortunately, I could stagger on for a while on battery power, especially on the BlackBerry which has an astonishing battery life. Although, I must admit, I’ve never tried to make it the centre of my computing universe. (For regular readers: Yes I still have the O2 Trion, and its battery life is fairly dreadful by comparison.)

The other thing that bothers these large organisations is the cost of the electricity needed to power their IT equipment. It is rapidly heading to second place on the IT budget behind people costs. Cooling takes the lion’s share of the power, closely followed by the IT equipment itself.

Apparently, most computer equipment is underused. It hangs around, sucking power, waiting for some work to do. Desktop computers are probably the worst culprits, one company estimated that they average about one percent usage. The servers that drive the company’s networks and IT are between five and 20 percent used.

Similar figures must apply in small and medium businesses too. The big company solution is to consolidate computing resources into fewer locations and fewer machines and to ‘virtualise’ the workload so that it runs on any available server rather than being run on a specific piece of equipment. This could even result in powering down some servers at less busy times (be sure they can cope – many are designed to be ‘always on’). The overall result is less space needed for IT, less cooling and less power.

At the desktop, it’s possible to cut energy usage by using standby mode, instead of leaving screen savers running, and by switching off machines altogether when the working day is done. A simple “does the user need such a powerful computer?” could also slash energy budgets. Not now, but when the time comes to replace equipment. In an environmentally friendly way, of course.

For most businesses, financial concerns rank above environmental concerns. By taking the energy efficiency route to making IT decisions, you can satisfy both.

#646464

David Tebbutt is an award-winning columnist and feature writer who specialises on the subject of using software and technology to increase business productivity. He's an analyst with Freeform Dynamics but, in previous lives, wrote for Director magazine, Real Business and was also editor of Personal Computer World. http://freeformdynamics.com

Commenting Is Easy

Do you agree with this blog post? Disagree? Have something to add that others might find helpful? Then please leave a comment in the box below.

If you'd like to have your image included next to your comments here, then you can set yourself up with an avatar in just a couple of clicks.

Leave a comment

Photostream

Listen to the sales podcast for SMEs Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

PARTNER PROMOTIONS

If looking to boost your businesses performance with promotional marketing, travel incentives or incentive schemes get it touch with NDL Group