Going Green, from Desktop to Data Center

By Pedro Pereira  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

HP and Kaseya are among IT vendors looking to reduce energy costs for IT organizations through new technology that also cuts costs. Because green strategies are often also budget-saving strategies.

The plunge in oil prices couching the ongoing economic downturn could foster complacency about going green, but IT vendors are doing their best to prevent that.

From the desktop to the data center, vendors are pushing technology and services that reduce power consumption and boost technology performance. It may be cheaper to drive than it was two months ago, but energy costs overall remain a big drain on business budgets. For vendors and their channel partners, there is significant profit potential in helping ease that burden on their clients’ budgets.

In some cases lifting the burden may involve simply changing bad habits, such as leaving computers on after hours, while in other cases investments in new power-stingy technology may be the ticket.

Hewlett-Packard, for instance, is prodding customers to make data centers more efficient, while managed services platform vendor Kaseya focuses on the desktop by encouraging users to power down idle computers.

Be it through the desktop or data center, going green can generate significant cost savings. And as the mood of governments around the world turns to regulating power management and reducing carbon emissions, more and more customers are looking for efficiency, according to Mark Linesch, HP vice president of marketing for infrastructure software, enterprise storage and servers.

In the data center, Linesch says, companies can cut millions of dollars in energy-related expenses simply by harnessing and redirecting power that otherwise goes to waste.

At the desktop, says Dan Shapero, Kaseya’s vice president of marketing, turning off workstations after work hours translates to a potential electricity savings of about $70 yearly per machine. The EPA estimates a workstation costs around $150 a year to run.

For companies with hundreds or thousands of machines, the savings can easily add up to thousands of dollars. And for a company with 10,000 workstations, you’re looking at a savings of $1.26 million a year or more, according to estimates by Enterprise Management Associates, which recently conducted a survey on desktop habits for Kaseya.

Fewer than half of workstation users take advantage of power management settings on their computers, the survey found. Since workstations account for about 90 percent of the computing environment, the impact is substantial, Shapero says.

"The machines are left on almost twice as long as they need to be," he says. "When you look at power costs, it’s almost double what it needs to be."

Kaseya is tackling the waste by pitching the power management capabilities of its RMM (remote monitoring and management) platform, which its MSP (managed services provider) partners use to monitor, maintain and update the IT environments of their clients.

MSPs using Kaseya’s platform have the ability to set policies to turn off machines after work hours. For environments with machines running on Intel’s vPro chips, MSPs also have the ability to turn them on remotely for routine after-hours maintenance.

"What we’re hoping is by making it really easy to set power management policies, it doesn’t turn into a chore for users," Shapero says.

Kaseya this year has been pushing the green angle as it pitches its managed services offerings to customers and recruits MSP partners. Shapero says the message is resonating, and the vendor has picked up some business as a result of it.

HP’s Linesch, too, believes businesses have become more attuned to the green message. The motivators are cost savings, protecting the environment and the anticipation of government regulations to control corporate carbon footprints.

To help them on all fronts, HP is pushing a comprehensive approach to sustainable business practices energy efficiency. The vendor’s Green Business Technology initiative aims to extend the life of data centers and make them more efficient by capping and reallocating the power drawn by servers.

HP estimates that through the use of its Dynamic Power Capping and Thermal Logic technologies, a data center can triple its servers without having to increase power or air conditioning. Thermal Logic technology measures the use of power and cooling to determine how to redistribute data center resources.

A 1-megawatt data center, says Linesch, can recover up to $16 million in trapped power by implementing the technology. Electricity alone adds up to at least 40 percent of the cost to run a data center.

In addition to the technology, HP has introduced consulting services to assess the energy efficiency of data centers and use information gathered through analysis for improvement and investment payback scenarios. The services also include designing efficient data centers and retrofitting existing facilities to comply with environmentally sound practices.

The return on investment from going green in the data center, Linesch says, is relatively quick, with businesses seeing results in as little as nine to 12 months.

"I just think of it as really good business," he says.


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