Green and Virtual IT Data Center Primer

January 31, 2015 – 2:56 pm

Green and Virtual Data Center Primer

Moving beyond Green Hype and Green washing

Green IT is about enabling efficient, effective and productive information services delivery. There is a growing green gap between green hype messaging or green washing and IT pain point issues including limits on availability or rising costs of power, cooling, floor-space as well as e-waste and environmental health and safety (PCFE). To close the gap will involve addressing green messaging and rhetoric closer to where IT organizations pain points are and where budget dollars exists that can address PCFE and other green related issues as a by-product. The green gap will also be narrowed as awareness of broader green related topics coincide with IT data center pain points, in other words, alignment of messaging with IT issues that have or will have budget dollars allocated towards them to sustain business and economic growth via IT resource usage efficiency. Read more here.

There are many aspects to "Green" Information Technology including servers, storage, networks and associated management tools and techniques. The reasons and focus of "Green IT" including "Green Data Storage ", "Green Computing" and related focus areas are varied to discuss diverse needs, issues and requirements including among others:

  • Power, Cooling, Floor-space, Environmental (PCFE) related issues or constraints
  • Reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and other green house gases (GHGs)
  • Business growth and economic sustain in an environmental friendly manner
  • Proper disposal or recycling of environmental harmful retired technology components
  • Reduction or better efficiency of electrical power consumption used for IT equipment
  • Cost avoidance or savings from lower energy fees and cooling costs
  • Support data center and application consolidation to cut cost and management
  • Enable growth and enhancements to application service level objectives
  • Maximize the usage of available power and cooling resources available in your region
  • Compliance with local or federal government mandates and regulations
  • Economic sustain and ability to support business growth and service improvements
  • General environmental awareness and stewardship to save and protect the earth

While much of the IT industry focuses on CO2 emissions footprints, data management software and electrical power consumption, cooling and ventilation of IT data centers is an area of focus associated with "Green IT" as well as a means to discuss more effective use of electrical energy that can yield rapid results for many environments. Large tier-1 vendors including HP and IBM among others who have an IT and data center wide focus have services designed to do quick assessments as well as detailed analysis and re-organization of IT data center physical facilities to improve air flow and power consumption for more effective cooling of IT technologies including servers, storage, networks and other equipment.

Similar to your own residence, basic steps to improve your cooling effectiveness can lead to use of less energy to cut your budget impact, or, enable you to do more with what you already have with your cooling capacity to support growth, acquisitions and or consolidation initiatives. Vendors are also looking at means and alternatives for cooling IT equipment ranging from computer assisted computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software analysis of data center cooling and ventilation to refrigerated cooling racks some leveraging water or inert liquid cooling.

Various metrics exists and others are evolving for measuring, estimating, reporting, analyzing and discussing IT Data Center infrastructure resource topics including servers, storage, networks, facilities and associated software management tools from a power, cooling and green environmental standpoint. The importance of metrics is to focus on the larger impact of a piece of IT equipment that includes its cost and energy consumption that factors in cooling and other hosting or site environmental costs. Naturally energy costs and CO2 (carbon offsets) will vary by geography and region along with type of electrical power being used (Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Wind, Thermo, Solar, etc) and other factors that should be kept in perspective as part of the big picture.

Consequently your view and needs or interests around "Green" IT may be from an electrical power conservation perspective to maximize your power consumption or to adapt to a given power footprint or ceiling. Your focus around "Green" Data Centers and Green Storage may be from a carbon savings standpoint or proper disposition of old and retired IT equipment or from a data center cooling standpoint. Another area of focus may be that you are looking to cut your data footprint to align with your power, cooling and green footprint while enhancing application and data service delivery to your customers.

Where to learn more

The following are useful links to related efficient, effective, productive, flexible, scalable and resilient IT data center along with server storage I/O networking hardware and software that supports cloud and virtual green data centers.

Various IT industry vendor and service provider links
Green and Virtual Data Center: Productive Economical Efficient Effective Flexible
Green and Virtual Data Center links
Are large storage arrays dead at the hands of SSD?
Closing the Green Gap
Energy efficient technology sales depend on the pitch

What this all means

The result of a green and virtual data center is that of a flexible, agile, resilient, scalable information factory that is also economical, productive, efficient, productive as well as sustainable.

Ok, nuff said (for now)

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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