Green IT is high on the radar for Indian firms

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Nov 25 2013, 07:00am hrs
Today, green is not just important, it is mandatory. CIOs are being challenged to rethink their data centre strategies, adding energy efficiency to a list of critical operating parameters that already includes serviceability, reliability and performance. A data centre is a facility that centralises an organisations IT operations and equipment, and where it stores, manages, and disseminates its data. A green initiative can help a company regain power and cooling capacity, recapture resiliency and help meet business needswhile, at the same time, dramatically reducing energy costs and the total cost of ownership, says Lingraju Sawkar, director, Integrated Technology Services, Global Technology Services, IBM India/South Asia.

In a recent interaction, he tells Sudhir Chowdhary that the potential for the deployment of green solutions is huge in India. Excerpts:

What are the key factors that CIOs evaluate when investing into building a data centre for the future

The explosion of assets has increased the complexity of the IT environment, raising operational and administrative costs and reducing infrastructure productivity. Right now, technology leaders are challenged to manage sprawling, complex distributed infrastructures and an ever growing tidal wave of data, while remaining highly responsive to business demands. IT is also important to have the right processes running and managing the data centre.

Today, there are several factors which a CIO evaluates before investing in building a data centre. Some of these areIT adoption roadmap in his enterprise for next 3-6 years; energy efficient solutions to reduce overall cost; IT availability and business continuity needs; number of data centre sites to achieve IT resiliency. Some other key factors are in regard to how much modularity he can bring in a data centre; should he focus on internal

capabilities to build/manage a data centre Or outsource to a partner Also, there are other factors such as strong disaster recovery strategy to combat any disruption, the day-to-day operation and management of the data centre (both IT and non IT equipment).

Earlier, most IT infrastructures were not built to support the explosive growth in computing capacity and information that we see today. Many data centres have become highly distributed and somewhat fragmented. As a result, they are limited in their ability to change quickly and support the integration of new technologies and lacks scalability to support business needs.

How do companies that adopt green technology are able to cut costs and increase their asset value

In a typical large data centre in India, every watt of power consumed by IT equipment requires another watt of power for overhead, including losses in power distribution, cooling and lighting. Once the organisation adopts Green technology and design, they are able to focus on data centre operations in a much smarter way. Enterprises are able to cut enormous cost as green technologies not only help in improved energy efficiency, reducing hardware purchases and freeing up their work force and budget resources. They can allocate this work force and budgets to focus on their core competencies. Implementing tools to manage green data centre can make it smarter and provides insights needed to make the best use of limited resources in four specific ways. First, assess with speed and rigour. That is, discovery tools help you rapidly gain insights to prioritise your actions and determine what to focus on next. Second, model outcomes with precisionafter you determine the critical areas that need to focus on, you need to accurately evaluate alternative to predict outcomes and reduce risk. Third, automate with intelligence: analytics can help you execute faster and with less dependency on critical staff by infusing intelligence into automation, helping you free up your skilled resources to don those things that are more valuable for the organisation. Fourth, manage with certainty. Here again, analytics can also help you manage your infrastructure with greater confidence by leveraging operational expertise and best practices.

How important is it for green data centres to be on the current enterprise agenda

Today, green is not just important, it is mandatory. Data centre owners spend 3-5 times more on data centre operations than building a data centre. Out of every single IT dollar spent, 70-80% may still be spent every year on maintaining current data centre environment. More than 60% of this is spent on their ever increasing energy bills. Many enterprises have recently extracted noteworthy cost reduction through extensive consolidation, virtualisation, and standardisation programmes and in doing so have built credibility with the business.

CIOs today are being challenged to rethink their data centre strategies, adding energy efficiency to a list of critical operating parameters that already includes serviceability, reliability and performance. A green initiative can help a company regain power and cooling capacity, recapture resiliency and help meet business needswhile, at the same time, dramatically reducing energy costs and the total cost of ownership.

How can IBM tweak the clients business requirements to further efficiencies, especially towards being more eco-friendly

IBM has extensive implementation experience of multiple industry leading technologies in data centre power and cooling. A pioneer in the concept of eco-computing, IBM has been taking an active role in driving change and enabling sustainable prosperity and has drawn up an extensive go-to-market strategy for its eco-initiatives. We believe in two-fold approach: We are working to make our existing products and processes more efficient for both the environment and for business, while also developing new innovations that can help the world become smarter, drive economic and operational improvements, increase accountability and lessen environmental impact.

Why is green IT important for India

India is facing acute power shortage. Load shedding across the country has become a part of life and this is a very serious issue as any sort of downtime for an organisation can result in sever loss in revenues. Also, as the carbon footprints are increasing day by day it is impacting our environment directly with hazardous substances. There is an increasing focus on energy proficiency across organisations in India.The adoption of Green IT has led enterprises and service providers to build energy efficient data centres through right sizing, improved system architecture and better design. Energy consumption is the biggest contributor of the operating expenditure of data centers. As a result, every association directly or indirectly, targets energy consumption that is Greening of the data centres.

What measures are needed to promote green technologies in India

The potential for the deployment of green solutions is huge especially now. Organisations are more aware today and are heavily investing in energy efficient solutions. Infact, Indias spending on green IT and sustainability initiatives will reach $29.2 billion in 2013 a 17.6% increase from $24.8 billion that was spent in 2012, according to Gartner.

Organisations are looking for ways to reduce business energy consumption and to become more environmentally responsible.

While there is clearly no single right way to create a green data centre, experts believe that the most productive first step for companies is to conduct a best practices valuation and energy assessment. This systematic check-up offers a real-time profile and model of the data centres energy use conditions and makes it possible to locate areas of high energy use, while establishing a reference point for further planning. It is highly critical to plan for the upcoming years, considering the niche requirements of various businesses, not forgetting the criticality of the needs, permissible environment, and resiliency concerns.