Of course, saving energy contributes to sustainability initiatives. Yet, many data center managers tend to focus on individual machines and energy consumption, which often leads to unsustainable actions — think replacing a well-running, three-year-old server because a new device is 8% more economical. In fact, if you take the consumption of resources for producing the new server and recycling the old server into account, the replacement pollutes the environment more than the actual electricity savings.
Oftentimes, sustainability can be improved through simple but targeted measures, which usually require little or no investment. However, these transformations are based on transparency and data collection. A comprehensive IT documentation tool can provide the necessary data and also optimally support the planning of your sustainability initiatives.
FIVE SUSTAINABILITY TIPS TO CONSIDER
1. Find ghost systems
Ghost servers can haunt a data center and consume several hundred watts — enough to cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in electricity per year. They also affect cooling capacities and increase security risks, all without adding any value.
Locating servers that are in operation yet no longer serve a purpose can reduce energy consumption and improve the overall efficiency of your data center. Since a documentation tool can record the life cycle and usage of all components throughout the data center, ghost servers can be quickly identified and decommissioned.
2. Avoid cooling hotspots
The equipment in a data center dictates the temperature at which the room must be maintained. This temperature requirement therefore governs the air conditioning. . If there are multiple objects that are close together and produce a lot of heat in one vicinity, it may be necessary to ramp up cooling to keep the room temperature below a specified limit.
Management solutions with advanced planning capability can identify hot spots and facilitate redistribution of heat-generating equipment. In a well-documented data center, power consumption, power networks, and utilization can be monitored. Software that enables the graphical visualization of the temperature distribution in the data center room makes it possible to quickly and easily identify problems, such as hot and cold spots, or a problem with the cooling in general. This can significantly reduce the overall cooling capacity and overall environmental impact.
3. Consolidate IT
The virtualization of servers and network hardware, as well as the replacement of copper cables to fiber optics, leads to a densification of IT hardware. This reduces the number of devices specifically used and the space that needs to be cooled.
In this scenario, a documentation tool can enable teams to find underutilized IT hardware and distribute application loads to other systems in order to be able to shut down systems. This will not only reduce the power supply, it will also relieve the cooling system.
Densification also reduces the need for new buildings as more power can be accommodated in the existing buildings. This saves many tons of CO2 that would otherwise be produced during concrete production.
4. Bundle resource planning and operations
Operations by IT service engineering teams are unsustainable for several reasons: They cost fuel, resources, and a lot of time (and, therefore, money). In large production plants or extensive industrial laboratories with long distances, a single service call can quickly take an hour because the employee has to take numerous detours through various safety areas.
Those who efficiently bundle service calls and ensure that everything necessary for the operation is in the service vehicle can reduce resource consumption by up to 90%. Here, planning software based on up-to-date IT documentation can provide targeted support to ensure all parts and equipment are not forgotten. It also helps to get an accurate (virtual) picture of the site in advance via 3D views of the premises and racks.
5. Reclaim and distribute capacities
If IT components need to be replaced because the hardware no longer meets new performance requirements, companies should ask themselves if, how, and where these devices can still be used sensibly.
Through virtualization, loads can be redistributed, and older devices can continue to be used. A targeted reduction of the maximum frequencies of CPUs, for example, can significantly reduce power consumption.
It’s important to have the greatest possible transparency about all systems used as well as the applications and services that run on them in order to optimally distribute them. High-performance data reconciliation and delta calculation mechanisms are also needed to synchronize with the network to keep data accurate. Visibility into relationships and dependencies, along with an up-to-date and accurate inventory of all physical, logical, and virtual resources, will improve the utilization of all infrastructure resources.
Overall, if you don't know what systems are in use or how much power is being consumed, it's hard to drive optimization and sustainability. A detailed IT documentation tool can provide the necessary data for teams to find ghost systems, consolidate IT, avoid cooling hot spots, bundle resource planning and operations, and reclaim capacities. Combined with an experienced partner who knows the blind spots of every infrastructure and every data center, an IT documentation tool can help you take a big step toward your sustainability goals.