Nine Green IT Tips for Network Admins

Nine Green IT Tips for Network Admins

Whether you're looking at hardware, software or the physical space of your data center, chances are there is plenty of room for improving the environmental and economic performance of your facility.

Now, two different vendors are offering tips aimed at IT managers that offer pragmatic steps to getting your data center operating as best it can.

Over at, Bob Worrall, the CIO at Sun Microsystems, offers four tips:

1) "Check the vintage of the systems in your server racks, and replace energy and space hogs." Simply replacing the oldest hardware in your data center can go a long way towards saving costs on energy usage and cooling needs, and using state-of-the-art servers brings higher performance efficiency.

2) "Tie IT decision makers to their facilities counterparts." An age-old complaint around these parts, tying the budget for data center operations to more than just the IT department is one of the surest ways of focusing attention on energy efficiency. Worrall says that because CIOs often don't pay for the utility bills, the argument is more performance per square foot rather than energy use per square foot. Bringing these two groups together helps smooth out those organizational roadblocks.

3) "Look at virtualization and container technologies." Along with replacing older machines, look at consolidating and virtualizing as much as possible -- Worrall explains that Sun has achieved 2:1 ratios of server replacement and 3:1 ratios for storage replacement by using virtualization, and has seen server ratios climb as high as 20:1 in other facilities.

4) "Turn on the meter at the rack level." By looking closer at every rack, rather than at data centers as a whole, IT managers can pinpoint hotspots and holes in energy efficiency, and can fine-tune solutions to fix problems where they occur, rather than blanketing the data center with excessive cooling.

Also covering a wide range of steps that IT pros can use to green their IT, Aten Technology this week released five steps of their own. They've been condensed over at GoodCleanTech, but here they are in a nutshell:

1. Go it Remotely. Aten advocates for using remote KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) systems to cut back on the sheer amount of hardware needed to manage servers, as well as giving IT managers remote access to even the furthest-flung data centers.

2. Cut the Clutter and Reduce Power Consumption. Similarly, going virtual with monitors can save as much energy as 50 watts per hour for each monitor. Those kinds of cost savings add up quickly.

3. Check out the Most Environmentally Friendly KVMs When switching to KVMs, Aten urges IT pros to pick the best options possible, and suggests that LCD switches can save on space and further save on energy use as ewll.

4. Going Green Starts on the Factory Floor Moving beyond the physical limits of the data center, there are products available for IT pros to reduce the overall life-cycle impact of the data center; certifications like EPEAT and Energy Star offer a valuable rubric for getting started on making greener purchases.

5. It's All in the Packaging Finally, most OEMs are starting to take a hard look at the packaging waste associated with shipping all tech products, but especially with bulk orders of data center equipment. Companies are using strategies from minimal outer packaging to shipping materials made from recyclable, renewable or biodegradable resources are all increasingly appearing in the tech world.

More green data center tips are available in GreenerComputing's Data Centers section.