Sorry Archimedes for leveraging your quote. Kfir Godrich wrote a post earlier this month asking How Green is the Cloud World? Kfir discussed the impact of cloud on an organizations environmental impact. Which reminded me of a few posts I’d done in the past:
- The first about the misunderstanding about the role of savings in the Green IT movement – Why does so much of Green IT miss the value of the NegaWatt?
- And one titled: Is the focus on “Green” too narrow?
There is part of another post from almost a year ago that may bear repeating:
One thing to keep in mind is that when looking at the computing resources in an organization, a whole range of assessments are required. The following is an excerpt from the chapter I wrote in The Next Wave of Technologies book came out in 2009:
"For each one-hundred watts of power that is dug out of the ground in the form of coal, a significant portion (as much as 60 percent) is consumed in the power plant itself. Another ten percent is lost in the transmission process to get the power to the data center. This is one of the reasons many organizations are moving their data centers close to power plants. They are usually given power at lower rates, because they do not have to pay the transmission line penalty.
Once the power arrives at the traditional data center, another thirteen percent of the original energy is consumed by cooling, lighting and power conditioning. New techniques in lighting and data center design are being applied to address this area. A technique that is being investigated in many organizations to cut down the loss in power conditioning is the Direct Current (DC) only data center, but this requires special approaches to both powering the equipment as well as the power supplies in the equipment itself.
Now that the electricity has finally reached the servers, the power supplies and fans consume another eight percent of the original power. This leaves approximately nine of the original one-hundred watts available to do work. Most computers run at fifteen percent efficiency or less, so that leaves approximately one watt to apply to applications. If we take out hold over, obsolete applications that do not add value, and inefficient processes that are in most businesses, hardly any real business value comes out of that initial one-hundred watts of power.
Understanding the portfolio of hardware and software and weeding out the dead wood can radically improve the carbon footprint of an organization's IT investment. If you were able to kill off a parasitic application that has stopped generating value and save one watt worth of power at the server, it actually can save one-hundred watts worth of power being pulled out of the ground. Some examples of how power can be saved at every step have been included. However, keep in mind the effect of saving power on the right side of the diagram is amplified by the supply chain all the way back to the start."
Improvements can be made at every level, but it is clear that the leverage is higher for changes made on the right side. This kind of environmental impact needs to be part of every cloud strategy – IT organizations need to reap the benefits to the business, wherever they can be found.