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Eco friendly IT

01 Feb 2009

A long time ago…

in a country not too far from here…

a great environmental shift took place.

With the current economic environment in a constant state of change, we have all started to see a decline or delay in IT infrastructure projects, specifically over the last six to eight months. A lot of organisations, from the SMB to the large corporate and enterprise businesses, have been tightening their belts and taking a very serious look at ways to maximise their investments in IT-related products.

As some companies take a more cautious approach towards their IT budgets, lifecycle extensions are a cost-saving necessity for many organisations, although in truth these are often just sticking plasters that have their own risk factor involved. The ability to recycle these older units can be a chore on its own, and is often a major pain point for most business.

Some organisations are choosing the path of upgrading service agreements on existing kit, and have chosen to run with their current solutions until the unit fails or the economy stabilises. Although this would seem to be cost-effective in the short term, the long-term implications can be very cost-prohibitive and sometimes catastrophic from a loss-of-productivity point of view. This is especially true for manufacture and logistics organisations, where the cost implications of the loss of their processing or manufacturing abilities could run into the tens of thousands of dollars per hour.

A lot of existing solutions out there have already passed their use-by date and are proving to be more expensive to run and maintain; spare parts can be difficult to source or cost-prohibitive, and the chance of failure is a very real concern for most IT managers. This is why looking at a complete refresh based on more efficient processing, power and cooling technologies could often have a far more compelling logic, even though the initial expenditure is often above what was budgeted for.

One of the major and frequently unseen annual expenses for managers of IT infrastructure is power and cooling, but sadly this is a necessary by-product of server and PC infrastructure. The older technologies are somewhat archaic compared to their successors; they generate far more heat and use far more power, which creates the vicious circle where more fans deployed means more mechanical parts, therefore more heat is generated and still more cooling with fans is required.

Those who are committed to new infrastructure have started looking at ways to minimise the annual running costs of their environments by using newer hardware technologies and virtualised software environments. They’re also consolidating larger environments onto blades, quad socket or larger platforms and, as such, they’re maximising their infrastructure usage.

There is a new breed of IT manager out there that is now taking running costs into serious consideration and looking at the total cost of ownership of any complete infrastructure projects, as opposed to a small, segmented portion of it. This makes for a more balanced and cost-effective solution, and helps to minimise the company’s expenditure in the long term, while reducing the carbon footprint and often providing higher availability and disaster recovery while minimising loss of productivity.

The overall bottom line is that greener IT policies should lead to financial efficiencies and possibly substantial reductions in operating costs while maximising an organisation’s investment.

David Carlile is the National IT Account Manager at Cellnet Limited which distributes products including IBM, Lenovo and Microsoft. With over 18 years’ experience in IT, David is a familiar face to many in the IT reseller community and has a strong technical background with MS and Comptia Certifications.


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