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Microsoft Offers Best Practices for Green Data Centers

“The current economic situation has made companies take a closer look at ways to save money. Creating a green-friendly data center is one of the best places to start,” he relates. “A great example is if only 50 percent of a data center’s power capacity is used, then highly expensive capacity is stranded in the uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), generators, chillers and so on. In a typical 12 Megawatt data center, this could equate to $4 million to $8 million annually in unused capital expenditure. The bottom line is that while financial concern is always a question when discussing innovation, it is important to look at the big picture to see true cost savings. By investing in green technologies, you are investing in the future of your business and will ultimately see cost savings over the long-term.”

10 steps to creating an Earth-friendly data center

The financial crisis has actually created an opportunity for banks to re-examine the pros of becoming more green, he says. “[The crisis] has presented a real opportunity for banks to make the transformational shift toward green technologies. In addition, the environmental awareness of financial institutions has certainly increased as the public becomes more educated on green technologies. Being an environmentally responsible business not only helps public perception, but it sends a message to employees that being green-friendly is important to the company.”

Banks should take it slow when getting started on the path to “greenness,” Feldmann recommends. They should monitor energy consumption, organize grassroots efforts, and get those individuals that are passionate about energy savings involved. “It’s also critical to conduct a full audit of their IT operations in order to make simple, yet important decisions that may result in positive changes to hardware, software, configuration or process.”

He says executing these changes can greatly reduce the number and severity of unplanned outages and allows data center organizations to better maintain repeatable, well-documented processes. Communicating planned changes will enable teams to identify risks to dependent systems and lets them develop appropriate workarounds in advance.

Feldmann notes there isn’t necessarily any additional IT investment involved in going green. Managing energy consumption alone can result in a good deal of savings. “While it may seem like an enormous task on paper, the reality is that you don’t always have to spend big money in order to reap green benefits and savings,” he says. “Evaluating your energy consumption and then implementing small changes can add up to substantial savings just by managing your energy use efficiently. The end result is usually a net positive on the balance sheet, once energy savings and other efficiencies are gained.”

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