How to Cut IT Energy Consumption Using Business Service Management

For years, IT has been under intense pressure to implement an expanding number of new business services that are critical to the enterprise. To do so, IT staffs have typically added hundreds or even thousands of servers over the years, which has resulted in skyrocketing IT power consumption and energy costs. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Chris Rixon explains how companies can cut IT energy consumption and achieve other green IT objectives by using an approach based on business service management.


Imagine buying a case of soda for a party at your place Friday night. You discover your refrigerator is full, so you buy another refrigerator and put it in the garage to store the soda. Then you buy a few cases of other drinks-and another refrigerator. You buy some hors d'oeuvres and, of course, another refrigerator. By the time the party is over, you have five refrigerators in the garage, each one containing a few leftover items. Each one is running 24/7 to keep those items cold. And, month after month, you're paying for the power those refrigerators consume.

Over the years, IT has done pretty much the same thing with servers. They weren't really being frivolous, as in the case of the refrigerators. After all, IT truly has been under intense pressure to implement an expanding number of new business services-services that are critical the success of the enterprise. To provide those services, ensure reliability and guarantee enough capacity for peak times, IT staff has typically added hundreds, maybe even thousands of servers over the years. Each one, however, is seriously underutilized. Some enterprises have even found servers that were consuming power but no longer providing any service at all.

As a result of all these servers, power consumption in IT has skyrocketed. So have energy costs. One CIO of a global investment bank, for example, discovered that his company was paying nearly $2 million a year to power its computing systems. What's more, he learned that the IT energy cost per square foot was more than 15 times that of other departments.

So, just how can companies tackle this challenge? Very few have the capital budget to replace current equipment with newer, green versions that consume much less energy. Fortunately, there is a practical way to achieve green IT objectives while increasing efficiency.