This article originally appeared on VMblog.com as part of the VMblog's Expert Interviews series, and has been re-published with consent of the author.
As we move further into the year 2017, we ponder the question as to how corporations are thinking about green initiatives. What of today's data center growth? How can they become more eco-friendly? To dig into this topic a bit more, I reached out to Jeff Klaus, GM of data center software solutions at Intel.
VMblog: How top of mind have green initiatives within corporations become in 2017? And what's driving this?
Jeff Klaus: We've reached a point where companies can no longer afford to ignore their social responsibilities. A main driver, of course, is our reliance on connectivity, both personally and professionally, spurring data center growth and dependence on energy, where nearly every corporation with a sizeable IT budget have put corporate green initiatives on the top of their priority list. But beyond simply doing the right thing for the environment, more companies are realizing that it goes beyond being "green", rather it makes long term sense from an economic standpoint. If you could implement a technology that saved your company upwards of 20% on energy costs or install new equipment that ran more efficiently and contributed to cost savings, it seems like an obvious choice from a financial and environmental perspective. Whether a company has employed a green approach for cost savings, tax incentives, risk mitigation, operational efficiencies or brand reputation, the bottom line is clear: corporate green responsibility has taken a front seat within the enterprise.
VMblog: As green initiatives become an integral part of any large enterprise's DNA, how will the data center become ground zero for implementing company-wide, eco-friendly initiatives?
Klaus: For companies who have a large data center environment, advanced solutions can play an integral role for green initiatives. For starters, by implementing a DCIM solution, a data center manager could identify any zombie servers or servers that are under-utilized and either replace with up to date equipment or reassess workloads - consolidating servers alone can reduce energy 10-40%. Efficiency and cost savings can simultaneously be improved through workload balancing where companies can run their data centers on the lowest capacity during the night, for example, when nearly all of the staff is offline, resulting in serious energy savings. Data center managers can also monitor thermal changes and raise the temperature within the data center which can decrease cooling costs by 60%. To achieve dramatic cost and energy savings within an enterprise, looking to the data center is truly a gold mine for opportunities.
VMblog: What metrics have you seen derive from implementation of data center initiatives, like DCIM, which contribute to a company being eco-friendlier?
Klaus: Two years ago, Google acquired DeepMind, a British data science company that succeeded in reducing Google's data center fleet electricity needs for cooling by 40%. In assessing Google's needs, executing a plan, and publishing results Google provided to the public a body of work that can help any data center improve and become greener.
The four areas the program focused on were:
- Measure Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)
- Manage airflow
- Adjust the thermostat
- Use free cooling
VMblog: Finally, what is Intel doing in this arena?
Klaus: Intel is constantly working to drive efficiency and glass box visibility throughout its product line. The results have yielded continual compute performance at lower power footprint (assisting with PUE) while providing actionable telemetry data on server air flow, power consumption and thermal telemetry.