Innovation, Not Technology, is Key to Sustainability

At Macanta we believe that it is innovation such as our eco-ITSM service that will be key to sustainability, and not just technology.

This article also talks about innovation being key. You can read the article here.

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Five Surprising Companies Taking Sustainability Seriously.

The phrase “sustainable companies” may conjure images of small companies with lofty social goals that don’t care about profits, but the truth is that many global companies have dedicated considerable resources to developing their sustainability initiatives. The five companies in this article derive and produce shared value from their sustainability efforts. Read the article here.

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ICT Sustainability Global Benchmark 2012

Whilst we wait for the 2013 benchmark, it is interesting to reflect how Australia and New Zealand fell behind in 2012. Read the 2012 report here.

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You Heard It Here First!

In a recent article, Fujitsu describe how service management can help reduce ICT’s environmental impact. You can read that here.

However, remember where you heard it first. Karen wrote about ITIL and sustainability 3 years ago! You can read that here.

We even developed the service to support the fact!

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How To Make Money By Going Green

Great resource from NBS on how small businesses can save money by going green. Read it here.

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The Four Key Environmental Factors of ICT

Almost every element of the ICT lifecycle – from material acquisition to product disposal – affects the environment. In this article, Andy Lewis (Chief Architect for Sustainability, Fujitsu International Business Group) looks at the four major areas of impact: Energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, electronic waste (e-waste) generation and water consumption. He also discusses ways your organization can measure and reduce each of these.

Read the Fujitsu article here.


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Green Government Demands Vigilance

CRN editor David Binning interviews Macanta’s Karen Ferris on how Australian ICT sustainability guidelines could leave resellers out in the cold.

You can read the June 2012 CRN article here.

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Greenie, Guru and IT Skeptic

At this year’s itSMF New Zealand and Australia Conference, there is going to be a great discussion / debate on Green IT.

Karen Ferris will join the Head of Sustainability for Fujitsu, Alison Rowe and Rob England aka the IT Skeptic to talk about Green IT and what it mean for IT Service Management. The session will be moderated by the President of itSMF New Zealand, Tristan Boot.

Check out the itSMF Australia conference brochure and the itSMF New Zealand programme for more information.

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Justifying the CMS with the Green Dollar

This week the Uptime Institute announced the winners of the inaugural “Server Roundup Contest”. AOL, who came first, have retired and recycled nearly 9500 servers in less than six months. NBCUniversal were runner up with its infrastructure team having removed 284 servers or approximately 7.4% of the total enterprise. Only about 4800 physical servers remain in NBCUniversal’s infrastructure.

The contest was designed to highlight the energy savings available through the decommissioning of older servers. Participants were required to document the decommissioning of the machines and provide data on power savings and photos of the servers.

AOL decommissioned 9484 servers, representing 26% turnover in the company’s server assets, resulting in estimated cost savings of $5.05 million USD from reduced utility costs, maintenance and licensing costs, and $1.2 million USD in case raised from asset sales and reclamation. The environmental benefits were seen in the reduction of almost 20 tons of carbon emissions.

According to Uptime, decommissioning a single 1U rack server can result in $500 USD per year in energy savings, and additional $500 USD in operating system licenses, and $1500 USD in hardware maintenance costs. Matt Stansberry, Director of Content and Publications at the Uptime Institute, said “So much of the past several years’ efforts around data center efficiency has focused on the facilities infrastructure and PUE. This content was specifically designed to engage the IT community to get serious about asset utilisation and energy efficiency.”

Many organisations are also in a situation where they could realise major cost savings and improvement in environmental performance through the decommissioning of older and more energy hungry equipment. This is not only within the data centre but across the organisation including desktop computers, printers, monitors etc.

Crucial to the effective undertaking of such an activity will be a comprehensive and accurate configuration management system (CMS) supported by effective and efficient processes such as service asset and configuration management, change management, release and deployment management.

The accurate data will allow informed decision making in order to realise the return on investment from any refresh or decommissioning activity. The data will inform IT in regards to the utilisation of equipment, identification of unused or underused equipment, the energy efficiency of the equipment and its age. This can then drive a cost effective and profitable refresh programme.

Many organisations routinely decommission equipment as par of their everyday IT practices but this is often based purely on the age of equipment. Often a one-off audit is undertaken to identify equipment over a certain age and this is marked for decommission. An up-to-date CMS would negate the need for this one-off audit but would also allow the refresh to be driven by other criteria than just age. Equipment that could be replaced by more energy efficient machines can be identified and a cost benefit analysis undertaken. It may be more cost effective to replace this equipment before it’s designated end-of-life due to the energy efficiency of its replacement.

An up-to-date CMS will also allow identification and removal of redundant equipment in a timely manner. A supporting change management process and release and deployment process will ensure that equipment that will become unused or under utilised as the result of a change or release, can be removed from the environment. This keeps the IT environment lean and mean.
In 2009, following a large 2 year data centre consolidation exercise, Sun Microsystems recognised that despite those efforts, there was more than could be done and initiated a project called “Bring Out Your Dead” (inspired by the Monty Python’s Holy Grail film). This project was an effort to hunt down and remove orphaned and unused hardware at the company.

In just three months, at four of their major campuses they pulled out 440+ pallets of equipment, 6,199 devices in all with 4,100 of them being servers.

The best was yet to come. In their words: “the icing on the cake was that 64% of the equipment we pulled was still powered on! It was just sitting there burning energy”. The picture below shows 50% of the equipment that was removed which filled one of Sun’s warehouses.

This was like pulling 6000 cars off the road. This was a great win for sustainability and realisation of some massive cost savings but the situation should never have existed in the first place. It is accepted that reorganisations, mergers and acquisitions result in additional hardware assets but these should be soon identified through service asset and configuration management and removed from the environment before they have the adverse cost and environmental impact that we are all being asked to avoid.

The cost savings realised by AOL and NBC through participation in the Uptime competition should more than justify the investment in a CMS and supporting processes. Time to speak to the CIO.

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Low Hanging Fruit Grows Back!

At Macanta we have been espousing the need for improved business and service management processes if organisations are to be serious about improving the sustainability of ICT. The recent Global Benchmark 2011 report from Fujitsu, that summarises the findings of a survey of 1000 CIOs and senior ICT managers from around the globe, supports what we have been saying.

Whereas many organisations have addressed the growing energy consumption of IT with technology itself, few have focused on building sustainability into processes and making it business-as-usual. ICT is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this is forecast to grow to 6% by 2020. As the report points out, more importantly, ICT is responsible for 5 to 10% of the typical economy’s total electricity consumption and in some organisations that rely heavily on ICT such as banks, government and in many other administrative industries, ICT can account for up to 75v% of all energy consumption.

Despite these figures, ICT Sustainability or Green IT is not a high priority for most ICT departments. It is seen as a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘must-have’. Many organisations have reached a plateau in regards to ICT sustainability. They have tackled initiatives such as PC power management or telecommuting – the so called ‘low-hanging fruit’.

As the report states, ‘the problem is the low-hanging fruit have grown back’.

‘ICT sustainability should be a program, not a project. It does not end when one box is ticked; it is a continuing and focused commitment that must be integrated into core business processes’.

It is time for organisations to realise that they are not going to get the return on investment from many of their technology driven initiatives for sustainability unless the underpinning processes are in place. For example, data centre consolidation and virtualisation is all well and good and will deliver initial cost savings and improved energy consumption. However, without effective and efficient change management, service asset and configuration management, release and deployment management and supplier management processes – to name a few – the likelihood is that your sparkling emerald green data centre will soon become murky brown. (See my earlier blog). It is just like spring cleaning the house and then you let the kids back in. “What happened!” you exclaim as all the hard work appears to have been for nothing.

Service management processes can be used to drive sustainability within ICT and make it part of the fabric of the organisation. Sustainability can be embedded into every service management process, activity and function. At Macanta we have used the ITIL framework and created the eco-ITSM service to help organisations build sustainability into their everyday operation. Sustainability becomes a way-of-life and not a one-off activity.

It is time to build on the energy saving techniques and technology that have typically been used to date such as virtualisation, cloud computing, duplex printing, PC power management, collaboration tools and ensure that sustainability becomes an ongoing commitment. In service management we talk about continual service improvement all the time so we should apply this to sustainability. Continual Sustainability Improvement should be the new CSI!

If you want to know more about eco-ITSM check out the website or contact Breed Lewis.

The Fujitsu report can be downloaded here.

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