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Green IT & Infrastructure Optimization: Are they compatable?

A new perspective

I’m assuming you’ve heard the phrase, “Safety first”. Well, just maybe this is the era when we begin to say, “Safety first, Environment second”. The reason for this is simple, regardless of the debate on whether humans affect their climate; it just makes sense to save energy and recycle raw materials from the things we throw away.

It was surprising to me to learn that the Green IT initiative began way back in 1994, around the same time that the Energy Star program began labeling electronics which promoted power management and more efficient power consumption.

Infrastructure Optimization, on the other hand, is described as: “The core infrastructure optimization model helps customers understand and strive for a more secure, well-managed, and dynamic core IT infrastructure that will help enable them to reduce their overall IT costs, make better use of IT resources, and make IT a strategic asset for the business. ” – An Introduction to Microsoft IO Models White Paper

The key points in this statement which open the door for Green Computing are the ability to reduce overall costs by reducing power consumption through virtualization and by making better use of IT resources by more efficiently distributing workload amongst idle system resources rather than introducing additional systems.

Some interesting facts

  • The standard desktop computer loses over half of the power it draws through the generation of heat.
  • The average server also loses 35% to 40% of its energy through heat.
  • The Climate Savers Computing Initiative intends to reduce power consumption for all computing by 50% by 2010. This would be like taking 11 million cars off the road! This effort is backed by players such as Microsoft, HP, IBM, Intel, Google, and the World Wildlife Fund.

Where do I start?

There are many resources available to assist companies in selecting environmentally friendly hardware and software.

  • The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) – Classifies computing hardware in Bronze, Silver and Gold categories by testing 51 environmental factors.
  • The Climate Savers Computing Initiative – Seeks to establish annual business efficiency targets through purchasing desktops and servers which utilize more efficient power supply units. These newer generations of PSU’s can realize between 85% through 92% efficiency and can save approximately $10/year per desktop. Servers can save even more.
  • Energy Star: The long-running initiative managed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy is now in its 4th generation of energy standards and has in 2007 alone saved businesses and individuals $16 billion in energy bills and had the effect of removing 27 million cars from the road.
  • Windows Server Virtualization in Microsoft Infrastructure Optimization: Use server consolidation and virtualization to help your organization’s IT evolve into a strategic asset while saving the planet.

So in the final analysis, I guess it can be easy being green.


Jonathan Connery MCSE+I, MCSD
Senior Systems Architect
Infrastructure Optimization Team