In honor of Earth Day, here's some notes on making networks just a bit greener. Save the planet? Sure. But you can also save money.
Some tips that the experts suggest for squeezing more energy efficiency out of your IT operation:
- Refresh your equipment. "Cisco estimates that its new equipment gains 15 to 20 percent in energy efficiency every two to three years.".
- Make use of energy-efficient features. "For example, Cisco's Nexus 7000 switch can reduce power consumption in empty line-card slots, but that feature is not yet available in the vendor's more popular Catalyst 6500 series."
- Virtualize. "Server virtualization increases network utilization and reduces network equipment needs by allowing multiple virtual servers to share one or more network adapters within the confines of a single physical server."
- Be careful with cabinets. "Make sure networking equipment that goes into a hot aisle/cold aisle row uses front-to-back airflow, not side-to-side cooling. Vendors prefer side-to-side venting, which allows them to get more equipment into the rack, but units using a side-to-side design may blow hot air back into the cold aisle - or directly into an adjacent rack - and overheat it."
- Use a structured network design. "Your best bet for the greatest energy efficiency is to follow the Telecommunications Industry Association's TIA-942 Telecom Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers."
And remember: Don't go green just to be politically correct. Do it to improve your organization's bottom line and impress your bosses.
-- Don Willmott