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IT efficiency – why it’s more important than ever

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A recent Alcatel-Lucent-funded, BIO Intelligence study, has reiterated what we already knew: the IT industry must improve its efficiency. The report estimates that, even if improvements are made between now and 2020, the sector will be responsible for 4 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas output, and this is a best-case suggestion. Without due consideration given to the way we consume energy, and the subsequent waste we release, the global impact of these emissions will be significant, and this startling realisation calls for immediate action.

Without effective efficiency measures in place, the IT and communications industry is predicted to generate nearly 330 gigatonnes of CO2 by 2020, with the global availability of energy becoming greatly strained. The silver lining, the study reports, is the Cloud. Noting that not all changes need to come from new technology, BIO Intelligence suggests that infrastructure sharing is a simple and effective way to reduce emissions. As well as reducing your onsite carbon footprint, using a data centre Cloud – either wholly or as a hybrid solution – to host your IT means that the physical energy required to support the data processing can be shared between the large number of organisations hosted in the environment. It is reported that a fully hosted solution can reduce emissions by 90% for small deployments and 60% for larger offerings

At the data centre level, there is much that can be done to improve running efficiency. Technologies such as free-air cooling, cold aisle containment, and efficient UPS generator combinations reduce the PUE of the data centre. And optimising efficiency also improves resilience; not only does the environment benefit, but your customers benefit directly too. The premise is simple: the more efficient you are, the less energy you use. The less energy you use, the more you have in reserve. And the more you have in reserve, the greater your power resilience. For those data centres not already reaching a PUE of around 1.25, this study serves as a sharp warning: make changes now, or we will all pay the price in the future.

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