‘Green’ and ‘sustainability’ are buzzwords that we hear all the time, but there’s more to it than separating your recycling and getting a worm farm. Businesses are starting to get on board too, from SMEs to huge corporations. ‘Going Green’ has become an important part of many business operations, as it can save costs, and even increase profit. Some companies have taken to getting rid of company cars, or printing on double-sided paper. However, a major eco-culprit is often found in the IT department. If companies really want to make a difference, they need to optimise their IT set-up and practices, as this is where a multitude of environmental sins take place. Here are some tips for greening your IT.
Increase energy efficiency
The bottom line is that if you’re wasting energy, you’re wasting money. The best way to find out if your IT energy use is less than optimal is to have an energy audit (Success.com). That way, you can figure out what energy is being wasted and where. It could mean switching off a few PCs and using standby mode, installing LED lighting, refreshing equipment (which can result in 15-20% increase in energy efficiency, according to Cisco), or doing a whole IT network overhaul.
Not only does increasing your company’s energy efficiency mean that you’ll reduce your electricity costs, but it could also mean that you make more money. According to The New York Times, marketing your business as ‘Green’ can be highly beneficial. If you advertise the fact that your company adheres to certain green standards, it could appeal to certain niche customers. It doesn’t matter whether you own a coffee shop that sells Fair Trade beans, or a bank that uses LED lighting, any mention of ‘green’ in your marketing is advantageous, as it will help with your branding and set you apart from the competition.
This can apply to your IT, too. For example, why not advertise the fact that your company has upgraded network equipment, eliminated cabling and minimised server energy consumption?
Use virtual servers, optimise equipment
According to TechWorld.com, allowing virtual servers to share one or more network adaptors on a single physical server will reduce network needs, which will reduce energy consumption (and it will increase the efficiency of the network itself). It’s a good idea to have your IT technicians look into various systems, as some allow one switch to function as multiple switches, allowing more than one server to connect to the same part. This, in turn, reduces power consumption, and cabling.
A well-thought out network design also helps, as equipment in one main, central distribution area should connect to servers and various other equipment in individual racks. Networking equipment can also be opitimised by ensuring that there is always front-to-back airflow and not side-to-side (which is common practice). The latter causes overheating, which increases the need for cooling, and energy consumption (TechWorld.com).
Increasing your IT efficiency will save you money and it could even bring in some new customers. It’s important to work out where you’re going wrong and then take measures to rectify the situation. Having a well-planned IT distribution centre and optimising equipment will contribute to a greener business and a cleaner environment.
This guest post was written by Ang Lloyd on behalf of SAP Careers, a niche job board that helps people find SAP jobs in a various fields of specialisation.
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