Do you know the total cost of running your IT network, including the unnecessary money spent on idle energy consumption? With environmental issues becoming part of many business decisions, and as electricity costs rise, the ability to monitor the sources of power consumption is becoming increasingly important.
By identifying the sources of power consumption, particularly outside normal working hours, their importance to business operations can be assessed and decisions made on power management policies or power reduction initiatives. Having developed our own power consumption review process to identify the potential financial savings, it is surprising how the hidden costs stack up.
For example, the surplus energy consumption for a desktop PC that is left on overnight and at weekends costs £9.79 per month or £117.48 per year. Assuming a relatively small network of 60 PCs, it means that over £7000 is spent each year on wasted energy, money that could be better spent elsewhere in the IT budget.
Establishing improved power management policies is one way to run an analysis and review process that helps organisations reduce their operating costs without impacting service. We suggest the following steps:
- Identify non-essential networked equipment active out of hours (OOH);
- Categorise power devices by criticality and importance;
- Establish a power reduction policy for an OOH power-down project or infrastructure redesign (for power reduction);
- Create a cost/benefit analysis based on reliability and environmental benefits;
- Implement the power reduction policy and the infrastructure power-reduction project.
Where infrastructure redesign is necessary, there is the opportunity to implement optimised power solutions using software and hardware designed to minimise power consumption. Examples of this include reducing the physical infrastructure through server virtualisation or the implementation of power management solutions, such as HP’s Insight Control Environment or Cisco’s Automated Managed Power System, to enable power reduction policies for servers during periods of low utilisation.
While it is nice to be seen as committed to supporting environmental initiatives, this expenditure can also be used to improve IT service delivery elsewhere. Armed with information on your power consumption, what was once seen as a fixed-cost operational overhead can be viewed as manageable expenditure to leverage cost savings through internal IT policy and planning.
Whether this is by identifying which devices can and should be powered down, or through the implementation of infrastructure virtualisation or power management solutions, there is an opportunity for both reducing expenditure and enjoying green credentials.
Joe McCarthy is business development manager for ComputerLand UK Ltd.
Assumptions and sources: power consumption of PC device based on an HP DC7700 SFF PC (dual-core 3.46Ghz CPU, 1Gb RAM, 80Gb HDD); 8 pence per hour assumed electricity cost; 510 non-working hours per month, calculated Monday-Friday, plus weekends. Calculation and consumption sources: www.eu-energystar.org and www.ukpower.co.uk.