Improving IT efficiency and sustainability

To improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of IT, IT leaders are often advised to keep their hardware running as long as possible. This is because a significant portion of the hardware lifetime carbon footprint is consumed prior to onsite deployment.

Logically, if you extend the life of your hardware, lifetime carbon footprintbut according to Gartner Analyst Annette Zimmerman, there are two issues that IT leaders need to consider. The first is the security risks organizations face when they extend the life of their IT equipment. Manufacturers may only provide hotfixes and patches for a limited period of time. After that, the hardware can no longer run the latest software, making it vulnerable to cyberattacks. Another problem with extending the life of IT equipment is the potential loss of productivity.

Across the IT department, great efforts are being made to encourage IT departments to: Update old equipment, taking advantage of Moore’s Law, to provide more compute power along with cheaper and faster storage and networking that software providers can use to develop feature-rich applications.For example, Microsoft recently announced co-pilotIt consists of a number of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered extensions within the Office productivity suite and Power tools built on top of it. Chat GPT.

New hardware can also be more energy efficient. Modern graphics processing units (GPUs) use more power than older models, but they can run AI workloads much faster, reducing the overall energy required to complete a given task. can be significantly lower. However, this has to be offset against the embedded CO.2 related to its manufacture, shipment and disposal.

Growing interest in sustainability

At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ​​Zimmerman said the sustainability of IT devices and the circular economy were among the hot topics. “When people talk about circularity, recycling is the only thing that comes to mind first, but it’s more than recycling. It’s about reusing, remanufacturing, and refurbishing,” she says.

HMD Global, which makes Nokia mobile phones, was one of the companies who took note of her actions at MWC. Working with iFixit, HMD Global has introduced a repair program. “As a consumer, you can say, ‘I want to extend the life of my device,’ and they will help me fix the device myself. This seems a reasonable price.”

“When people talk about circularity, recycling is the only thing that comes to mind first, but it’s more than recycling. It’s about reuse, remanufacturing and refurbishment.”

Annette Zimmerman, Gartner

This reuse and remanufacturing concept is not limited to consumers. Gartner confirms that some enterprise IT buyers are beginning to consider remanufactured hardware.

For example, last year The Royal Mint signed a deal Use circular computing on remanufactured laptop PCs. Circular Computing’s circular remanufacturing process produces what the company calls “second life laptops.” This aligns with the new BSI Kitemark scheme, which certifies devices equal to or better than new devices.

BSI’s Refurbished and recalibrated kitemark method It is intended to validate the processes used to remanufacture products to demonstrate to customers that best practices are being followed. BSI Kitemark covers the process of returning used products to at least their original performance and offers warranties equal to or better than newly manufactured products.

After a successful trial, the agreed partnership will allow the Royal Mint to use Circular Computing’s carbon-neutral remanufactured Lenovo ThinkPad T480 units to meet the coin makers’ specific IT needs while allowing for a flexible procurement approach. designed to meet

This shows what is possible, but Shane Herath and José Gámez-Cersasimo of the Eco-Friendly Web Alliance argue that IT procurement needs to adapt to support the circular economy. “Since the linear economic model of IT consumption and use is not sustainable, organizations should also consider renovating their procurement processes to align with circular economy principles. Reduce the environmental impact of the current throwaway culture.” , we need to change our existing approach to IT procurement,” they wrote in a blog post.

Herat and Gamez Celsosimo Current IT procurement processes should be shaped by circular economy principles, promoting infrastructure and device durability, and focusing on reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling to reduce IT resources, components, and costs. , and to ensure that materials continue to circulate within the economy. In the blog, they urge his IT sector to embrace its “right to repair” and seek ways to end planned obsolescence and extend the lifecycle of technology devices.

“We need to change our existing approach to IT procurement to reduce the environmental impact of today’s throwaway culture.”

Shane Herath and José Gámez-Cersosimo, The Green Web Alliance

Reduce data center emissions

Beyond end-user computing and mobile devices, there is much more that can be done to address sustainability in data center computing.

For example, reducing the number of physical boxes helps reduce the carbon footprint of data centers. Rob Tribe, vice president of systems engineering at Nutanix, said: Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) Reduces the number of hardware components required to run your workload. Storage Area Network (SAN).

“This has an immediate positive impact on reducing carbon emissions and significantly reduces over-provisioning by offering bite-sized consumption,” he says. and increased utilization.”

With careful management and optimization, virtualization, containerization, software-defined storage and networking, and public clouds typically offer ways to maximize utilization of physical hardware. Sharing services over a network among multiple users reduces the environmental impact of purchasing and running on-premises IT hardware.

Accenture study finds CO can be reduced by moving to public cloud2 Reduce emissions by up to 59 million tons per year. This equates to 22 million fewer cars on the road than he does. Clearly, leaving the workload running continues to consume IT resources. But by monitoring usage, you can quickly identify when and where your IT resources are being consumed and which workloads can be throttled or turned off. This eliminates the need for additional hardware when adding new workloads.

IT departments can also extend the useful life of existing servers, which has a significant impact on reducing CO.2. Melar Chen, Product Marketing Manager, HashiCorpclaim Infrastructure as Code (IaC) – This enables organizations to provision and manage infrastructure using configuration files rather than different workflows, giving IT departments a way to improve IT sustainability.

First, IaC makes it easy to collaboratively build, change, and remove infrastructure in a safe, consistent, and repeatable manner. IT administrators can also create policies as code and have them automatically applied during provisioning workflows. This ensures that best practices and security policies are not violated. Additionally, IaC provides auditing and a way to understand the impact of new or changed infrastructure before provisioning and enforcing it.

When exploring areas to improve IT sustainability, there are often aspects of IT that organizations take for granted. However, these can have a significant carbon footprint. One area that is often overlooked is the bandwidth associated with web traffic and the impact of using multimedia-rich web content. An average web page produces 1.76 grams of CO, according to Wholegrain Digital, which runs the Website Carbon Calculator.2 per pageview.

“A small website with 10,000 page views per month already generates 211 kg of CO.2 co-founder, CTO of CloudinaryBut as Lev-Ami points out, many e-commerce sites have far more visitors, and organizations that rely on online sales naturally aim to increase web traffic, not decrease it. I’m here.

However, addressing bandwidth can reduce the amount of data transferred per web visitor, he says. “Many companies are already doing this to reduce costs and improve web performance, but they may not be analyzing this from their CO.2 perspective,” he says.

Lev-Ami, citing the US Energy Efficiency Economics Council, says 5.12 kWh of power is required per gigabyte (GB) of data transferred. Given that the average U.S. power plant produces 600 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that transferring 1 GB of data produces 3 kilograms of CO. says Lev-Ami.2.

Bandwidth is related to the number of visitors your website attracts and the size of the files that make up your website that must be downloaded each time a web page is rendered. By using image and video optimization tools, you can reduce the size of the data required for each web page.

You can reduce bandwidth by balancing image and video quality with file size. Lev-Ami says advanced image and video optimization tools use AI to automate this process. He cites his one case with Europe’s largest sportswear manufacturer, where he reduced bandwidth consumption by 40% from 6.8 TB (terabytes) per day to 4.05 TB per day. bottom. On an annualized basis, the company saved him 618 TB of bandwidth. According to Lev-Ami, this equates to 1,890 tons of CO.2 Saved.

https://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Driving-up-IT-efficiency-and-sustainability Improving IT efficiency and sustainability

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