Energy Aware Planning and Decision Making

Five imperatives for IT leaders


Published/updated: May 2012

By Dale Vile and Tony Lock

Introduction

The question of energy availability and management is often considered to be a core component of the so-called ‘green’ discussion. This is a mixed blessing. For the minority of organisations with a well thought out and properly resourced ‘green agenda’, the drive for energy efficiency is often the most tangible part of the business case for taking action, as the link to cost savings is clear. For others, wrapping the question of energy management up with what is sometimes seen as a ‘cause’, or a problem too nebulous to pin down and act upon, means it never gets properly addressed.

When considering energy consumption, we then have to consider ‘organisational politics’. Most managers and executives today are not directly accountable for the energy used in their part of the business, and the last thing anyone wants is something else to worry about managing. If someone does have to step up and take responsibility, then the secret wish is “let that someone be someone else!” When the question of IT-related energy use is raised, the CIO can then easily end up in the hot seat, even though power consumed by systems is largely determined by business activity.

If this description of corporate reality strikes a chord with you, and you are finding it difficult to get off the ground or make progress with energy-related initiatives within IT, then this paper is for you. Our aim is to illustrate that taking action on energy need not be onerous or unnatural, particularly in the context of the data centre where the emerging discipline of ‘data centre infrastructure management’ (DCIM) provides solid foundation for driving energy-related improvements. As we shall see, a lot can be achieved by taking a more joined up ‘DCIM style’ approach to management, which basically means considering power consumption, cooling, capacity, energy supply and other key aspects of data centre operations together, all in the context of IT service delivery requirements.



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