Thursday, 12 February 2009

Money Vs Environment

In these financially turbulent times, has everyone forgotten about the environment? Companies around the world have had their budgets slashed, all un-necessary projects stopped and anything to do with the environment put on hold until financial stability can be found again. Most people in the western hemisphere have been affected by the credit crunch in one way or another, some more than others, but it appears that the biggest loser has been the
environment. Six months ago everyone was cutting down paper use, recycling every scrap and utilising more efficient products but now people are more worried about saving money, sweating assets and managing to getting by. Can the two not go hand in hand?

100% efficiency is the final goal of any technology be it the combustion engine, kettles or computer chips. The growing trend in the car manufacturing market is for small, efficient cars that are cheap to tax, insure and run. They give consumers better value for money, albeit at a sacrifice of space, but even big cars like the hybrid Lexus GS 450h and the RX 400h 4x4 are embracing advances in electric engine and battery technologies to save their owners money. Sticking with the car theme, city car sales are up 17% while luxury and 4x4 sales are down over 40% each. What is the result of this boom in efficient, money saving designs? The environment is better off. Things that are good for the environment are good for our wallets!

Anyone who runs a data centre will know how expensive they are to power and cool and that any new technologies that save on these costs are embraced as soon as budgets will allow. Look at blade servers when combined with virtualisation software. A fully populated 10 bay blade chassis takes up 7U of rack space and will draw around 4kW of power. This is equivalent to 10, 2U servers, but they will draw around 5kW and take up 20U of rack space. When combined with virtualisation, you can combine many servers, over 100 instances on one physical server is possible ... seriously improving data centre efficiency.

Environmentally friendly plant is also a great way to save money. Free cooling chillers can significantly reduce the amount of money spent on cooling by using the ambient temperature to cool a data centre. In the UK, anywhere from 8 to 12 months of free cooling can be utilised every year, with up to 80% savings in power costs per month when it can operate without running the condensers. Fresh air cooling is even more efficient - you don't have any chillers, but replace them with large intake fans to cool the data centre from just the ambient temperature.

So the answer to the original question; Can money saving and environmental awareness go hand in hand? Yes! And there are huge savings to be made with very short returns on investment. Should everyone change all their IT and plant equipment straight away? No, because the imbedded carbon from physically creating the new equipment does not make replacing new or partly worn kit environmentally friendly, but as soon as it reaches its end of life invest in equipment to save the planet and save your wallet!

Migration Solutions is a specialist data centre consultancy and a member of the Green Grid. Winners of Information Age's award for Best Data Centre Innovation 2008 for ERA - an Environmental Report and Audit which aims to help data centre owwners to save money and the environment with no or little financial outlay.

1 comment:

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