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4 Tips On Optimizing IT Energy Use

A growing number of companies are coming to the realization that they are entering a data center energy crisis, according to Bruce Naegel, senior product manager, data center management group, Symantec Corporation.

To ensure their long-term viability, he says that organizations must begin now to find and implement solutions that help decrease power consumption.

Here are four tips from Naegel on optimizing IT energy use:

#1 Implement data de-duplication technology where it makes sense

Data de-duplication has emerged as a powerful tool for dramatically reducing storage and bandwidth consumed from disk-based backup. “By eliminating the problem of constantly backing up the same copy of a file again and again, data de-duplication can decrease backup storage consumption by 10 to 50 times as compared to traditional tape-based backup methods,” Naegel says.

And reducing the number of data copies reduces storage capacity requirements and storage power consumption. “What’s more, once reduced, snapshots and other copies from high performance disks can be moved to lower performance, more energy-efficient disks,” says Naegel.

That’s not all, by leveraging data de-duplication when backing up remote sites, this technology can provide significant savings in storage capacity and network traffic by not transmitting and storing redundant data, regardless of location.

#2 Invest in clustering software to extend virtualization technologies

Investing in the right software can extend the resiliency and usability of virtualization so that it has the ability to address enterprise class applications, according to Naegel. “Advanced clustering technologies combine the ability to act as a traffic director and move applications among servers and storage devices to fine-tune performance, regardless of failure, and in turn reduce hardware, space, and power requirements,” he says. Clustering technologies that support heterogeneous and even virtualized environments also keep hardware requirements to a minimum, thereby also decreasing space and power use.

At the same time, the degree to which organizations can more efficiently back up, replicate, and host virtualized environments on clustered entities increases the viability of virtualization for enterprise-level applications. Naegel says that this enables IT to extend virtualization to more applications and reduce the number of servers used, along with the power and energy they require.

#3 Use utilities to manage power usage on computers

Experts estimate that approximately 65 percent of energy used by computers and monitors is wasted because they often are simply not turned off when employees leave for the evening, Naegel says. Meanwhile, nearly half of monitors are not enabled for power management, thereby missing an opportunity to save money and energy.

Utilities now available enable systems administrators to quickly and easily govern and monitor power management, or sleep, capabilities of all desktop and system monitors throughout the corporate environment. IT can designate monitor shutdown policies at select intervals and administer them from a single web-based management console.

“By some estimates, these toolkits can save an organization between 10 and 50 dollars per PC annually,” Naegel says.

#4 Consider consulting services for efficient data center design

A growing number of organizations are working with data center design consultants whose concerted project approach to layout can deliver a significant space gain for an existing site while also delivering measurable power and cooling benefits.

“These consultants can provide a rapid assessment of how much power is being used to cool unused, redundant, or over-specified systems and evaluate current utilization to enable the organization to eliminate old or duplicate equipment and get one step ahead in the challenge to become more energy efficient,” Naegel says.

More info: According to recent research from Symantec, nearly three-fourths of respondents to a Symantec green data center report state they have interest in adopting a strategic green data center initiative; however, only one in seven have been successful at implementing a green data center, illustrating a stark contrast between interest and execution.

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