Green IT in honor of St. Patrick’s Day

Posted by Molly Miller on March 17, 2016

Perhaps you’ll wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid getting pinched. You may even wear a kilt to the office or put green food dye in your (tasty) beverages, but here I’m going to talk about some quick efficiency tips to make you a greener IT pro today without pinching you—or your wallet. 

  • Work remotely. Today, more and more employees are able to save gas by staying at home. While it may be a luxury for a lot of your coworkers, it often just means IT pros are never truly off the clock. Still, it’s nice that you don’t always have to get in your car in the middle of the night to resolve an issue you can fix remotely. Power equipment, UPSs and rack PDUs, are amongst some of your network’s equipment that have instant alerts and data (down to the outlet level) accessible. If nothing else, remote capabilities give you more time to focus on higher priorities and gives you peace of mind when you’re not near your equipment.
  • Virtualization. Virtualization reduces energy costs, but your control shouldn’t stop at the server-level. Make sure you can (remotely) manage your power devices in conjunction with your virtualized environment. Initiating a virtual machine move or graceful shutdown in the event of an extended outage can save you from data loss, job repercussions and much more. If your UPS and rack PDUs are equipped to do this, don’t let the capability go to waste! 
  • Zombie servers must die. It’s important to turn off unused equipment and evaluate underutilized servers. Related post: Are zombie servers eating your power?
  • Check temperatures. Are you optimizing the temperate of your server room? Are you overusing IT equipment and causing it to generate more heat than necessary? Modern rack PDUs can monitor your environment’s temperature and humidity and alert you to any dangerous changes and overall unit status. These things will not only allow your office to run greener, but will keep your equipment running longer.
  • Create a policy. Consider asking your users to shut down their PCs at the end of the day. Some IT pros may disagree as this is a good time to run updates and scans, but it may be something you can enforce before the weekends.
  • Ban printing. Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but eliminating or reducing printing would likely eliminate a lot of annoying IT requests you receive while also eliminating paper waste. It would also be helpful if users didn’t insist on printing in color at all times!
  • Recycle old hardware. Make sure you are environmentally responsible by properly recycling IT hardware (PCs, batteries, etc.). 
  • Consider energy efficient hardware when purchasing. Look for ENERGY STAR® qualified equipment (including UPSs) so you can save money and protect the environment. 
  • Pay attention to your batteries. Batteries are the most critical component in the reliability of any UPS. The battery is often ignored as a maintenance-free product, not requiring attention or inspection. This neglect can be costly and disastrous. Related post: Four factors affecting the lifespan of your UPS batteries and Make health-checking your UPS a top priority
  • Monitor your usage. If you do nothing else, start a report on your office’s energy consumption as it related to IT. This should raise internal awareness and help you form a plan of attack.

I certainly didn’t cover everything you could be doing to be eco-friendlier in the office, so feel free to leave a comment on some additional ideas for your peers. I couldn’t help but interject some power-related tips since that is Eaton’s wheelhouse. Whether you need to manage at the rack level, or if you want to remotely manage, there are a number of options for you. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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