Five Tips for Greener IT

Despite the best of intentions, the IT industry seems to be finding it difficult to implement energy-saving measures. Data centers alone tend to leave a huge environmental footprint, and the demand for enterprise IT is only growing. What can the IT industry do to promote sustainability while still meeting the growing demands of businesses? Here are 5 tips for creating greener IT:

1. Start on the Factory Floor. A green approach to IT manufacturing is a great start in promoting sustainability. Using environmentally friendly materials and restricting the use of harmful materials is a great start. Ideally, companies will strive to go above and beyond even the current environmental compliance standards. These steps are a great start in reducing harmful effects of computer component manufacturing on the environment.

2. Green Packaging. Also preceding the data center, "green" product packaging can contribute to the cause. "Greening up" the product packaging material and process can help to reduce waste and ultimately benefit the planet. Packaging that uses post-consumer, recyclable and biodegradable material helps the "green" agenda. For transparent packaging, vegetable-based plastics are much more eco-friendly. Soy-based inks for printing and single-piece corrugated cardboard for product displays can also help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

3. Reduce Power Consumption. Reducing carbon emissions through performance optimization and the using KVM tools (KVM = keyboard, video and mouse) can significantly reduce the amount of power needed to run a data center. This can be enhanced by reducing clutter thereby optimizing rack space and lowering the amount of power required. Monitors consume about 50W per hour, which can really add up over a year. With KVM technology, the number of monitors necessary in the data center decreases and your carbon footprint is smaller.

4. Consider Remote Management. Virtualization via the cloud and automated systems like KVM are inherently green. The need for extra monitors, keyboards and mousing devices is reduced and data center managers can receive remote access to servers. They are then able to monitor power consumption and performance of their hardware. Virtualization also enables managers to make needed modifications remotely via the Internet. Using the cloud lessens the environmental impact of having to use gasoline while traveling back and forth to data centers. It also helps in times of disasters or security breaches. KVMs and the cloud also allow for remote communications among multiple users, which is helpful when a team must address a major network issue.

5. Environmentally Friendly KVMs. LCD KVMs with hidden switches in a rack can actually cut power consumption to 30W or less, including an LCD monitor. Along with energy savings, an LCD KVM switch only takes up about 1U of rack space. (This is in comparison to two separate units for an LCD and KVM console.) Down the road, this sort of space savings effectively reduces the need for materials such as extra cables, metals and the plastics that can contribute to hazardous waste.

These are just a few of the ways the IT industry can help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and their environmental footprint. From the manufacturing process to virtualization in the workplace, "going green" is possible in every phase of IT.

Original author: Dena

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