Green IT Strategies

Green IT Strategies

Tips for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

While many people take action in their personal lives to reduce their carbon footprint, there is much that can be done to "go green" from a business standpoint as well. And corporate green initiatives don’t have to be exclusive to large companies with a ton of resources. Even the busiest small and mid-sized businesses can adopt strategies that help the environment along with helping the company’s bottom line.

Virtualization & Server Consolidation

If you have multiple servers all conducting single functions -- such as an Exchange server for e-mail, separate file, print, and line-of-business (LOB) application servers, etc. you’re likely utilizing less than 20% of your hardware’s capacity, yet still paying for energy to power 100% of it. Why spend resources purchasing, powering, managing and maintaining hardware that is underutilized?

Incorporating green IT strategies such as hardware consolidation and virtualization in your business is one way to achieve sustainability for your organization. Virtualization software is accessible to perform several IT functions simultaneously -- whether your server infrastructure is located on premise at your office or at a data center facility. Virtualization allows the consolidation of various data sources onto a single multi-functional server that can easily organize and manage the numerous duties a group of servers performs separately. This eliminates the need for excessive hardware, often referred to as server sprawl. It has been estimated that every server virtualized is equivalent to removing 4 tons of carbon dioxide from the environment -- the equivalent of taking 1.5 cars off the road annually.

Virtualization and server consolidation dramatically reduce the amount of physical hardware needed, and an organization’s overall energy consumption.

Move to a Hosted Environment

Hosting your network offsite and in a data center is considered a smart alternative to the traditional in-house server room because not only does it leverage the aforementioned green technologies but also minimizes your energy consumption.

Data centers today are equipped with Energy Star-rated hardware and highly efficient power, cooling, and lighting systems. At the heart of these efforts is a commitment to operating data centers as self-contained ecosystems that enables lower energy consumption and operating costs. Even so, a high price tag is generally associated with operating a data center which can often drive up service fees, so partnering with a service provider that can aggregate the costs across a wide client base and also provide valuable help desk services in addition to the hosting is typically in a small company’s best interest. For details on IT Solutions’ secure data center offering visit our NearCloud site.

Here are a few ways data centers work to keep energy consumption at a minimum:

  •  High-efficiency, Energy Star-rated UPS systems: A UPS system runs at highest efficiency when it’s near its maximum rated capacity. A UPS system that delivers greater than 95% efficiency at partial loads is key to any green initiative.
  • Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle Design and Containment: Building a data center with a hot and cold aisle containment design allows cool air to be delivered directly where it is needed in order to reduce power consumption. Containment also allows operating temperatures to be increased, which allows cooling equipment to operate more efficiently.
  • Close-Coupled Cooling: This type of solution improves efficiency because it employs liquid cooling technology, shortens the air paths and eliminates mixing of cold and hot air streams. These cooling fans automatically scale their speed according to ambient room temperatures. By using this technology, you can reduce power consumption and decrease the amount of heat emitted from the fans themselves.
  • Facility Preparation: White reflective roofing can be used to decrease the surface temperature of the roof by up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which not only lowers the cost of cooling, but also offsets CO2 emissions by about five metric tons per 500 square feet. Other techniques include painting the building a light color and insulating the walls to keep cold air flowing inside the data center.

If your business is approaching a major network upgrade or server refresh, now is the best time to evaluate moving your network into a hosted environment. A decision like this requires business owners and technology managers to carefully select a network service provider that will not only keep your data highly secure and accessible but one that can also offer, long-term cost savings and reliable support. The evaluation process should include a thorough assessment of the IT service provider and data center infrastructure.

When approached with the proper attention and care, moving your network offsite into an energy-efficient data center will seem less of a risk and the return will clearly outweigh any risk involved. For a check list of things to consider before moving to a hosted network, click here.

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