Sound Economics for Powerful Savings through IT Efficiencies

Posted on March 12th, 2012 by

Uncertainty unsettles. Today’s headlines around recession, austerity, new taxes, and elections, are all pointing to one thing, the state of the economy. No one is exempt – we are all affected at a personal and an organizational level. The stark economic outlook has meant businesses are looking to operate in a leaner, meaner state, where every penny counts.

IT energy consumption is an easy area to target. Taking steps to increase IT energy efficiency might be seen as a green IT initiative, but it is all about hard economic savings.  IT Power management means you only use the power you need and in doing this it saves you hard cash. Simply turning off PCs at nights and on weekends when they are not being used generates average savings of $36 per PC per year, which quickly translates into substantial sums across an organization.

IT Departments are under increasing pressure to achieve a tangible decrease in financial operating costs of their IT assets inside and outside of the data center. They need to implement solutions and tools that will achieve these financial goals, and if these tools also allow them to become energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions so much the better.

Power management

Power management software can intelligently power down PCs out of hours or whenever they are not in use. Server efficiency solutions can help to optimize and reduce the number of servers required across the business.

Many IT Professionals don’t have clear visibility of how many computers and monitors are left on at night and over weekends, or how many servers in the datacenter are doing no Useful Work. Investing in a PC power management solution will enable you to power down computers across a network remotely and automatically overnight and on weekends, ensuring that every PC remains available and ready day or night.

When deciding on a PC power management solution, look for software that can deploy updates and security patches at night (when energy tariffs are cheaper) by waking up computers, applying the update or patch and powering them down again afterwards. This feature means that users’ productivity is unaffected as the machines will run at full capacity during their working day. A strong PC power management solution should also proactively identify issues and automatically remedy them, either on the network or across the internet. The result is improved IT operations at lower economic cost, and with lower carbon emissions.

Server efficiency

Within the datacenter, the potential savings through implementation of a server efficiency and power management software can be even more significant. In a recent survey commissioned by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy, 72% of data center managers admitted that up to 15% of their servers were doing no useful work and could be decommissioned or switched off. With virtualization and cloud computing now buzzwords in every enterprise, the idea that you could actually decommission servers and run your business processes on a smaller server estate becomes financially and operationally attractive. With the average cost of running a physical server for a year at $4,400 and a virtualized one at $1,000,  introducing server efficiency and power management analysis that allows you to switch off as many as one in six of all your servers quickly adds up to very significant economic savings.

To successfully tackle data center energy management, select a vendor that can provide insight into the performance of physical and virtual servers and identify the level of useful activity on them. If there is no useful activity, then the investment in that server and its energy consumption is wasted and giving absolutely no return. Strong data center energy management software should provide instant visibility of power costs, efficiency and CO2 emissions so you can make informed decisions about which servers to switch off or redeploy elsewhere.

Enticing incentives

In addition to these already significant economic benefits of implementing power management initiatives in your company, most utility companies have created incentive programs where any organization in any sector can adopt energy efficiency solutions and benefit from generous rebates.

Incentive programs can fund anything from 25 per cent up to 70 per cent of efficiency projects or offer cash rebates for customers who install new, energy efficient IT equipment or cooling systems. Aimed at encouraging companies to implement energy efficient IT solutions, these energy rebates shorten the hard economic payback of implementing  IT energy efficiency solutions even more.

It is also important that the IT power management solution you choose is able to deliver accurate reports as the utility will want to verify your savings before issuing your rebate.

Good economics

As you can see, by leveraging existing assets and their power saving technologies to the full extent will help you avoid sprawl and achieve improved payback through efficient use of technology.

Rhonda Ascierto, Ovum senior analyst for energy and sustainability technology and author of the recent Selecting a PC Power Management Solution Vendor industry solutions guide says: “PC power management (PCPM) solutions can be a cost-effective way for organizations to reduce energy consumption, and therefore operating costs (…) They deliver a fast return on investment  (and) can save organizations about $36 per computer per year just in computer power consumption. (…) This typically equates to a 40% reduction in PC power costs or 380 kWh per PC per year or 586 pounds of CO2 per user per year[i]

What are you waiting for?

Energy, like time, is a valuable resource that once consumed can’t be retrieved. Wasting energy is careless, unnecessary and totally avoidable. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of  the author Nick Milne-Home, President of 1E  in North America, looks at power management strategies to cut energy consumption, save money and run IT assets more efficiently and effectively

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