June 22, 2018 in
The hidden cost of IT!
Powering and cooling just 10 racks can cost over £50k a year
As an IT professional should you care what it costs to run IT equipment? As a Facilities professional should you care about energy costs or is your job just to keep the lights on? Even if you are one of the minority that denies man-made climate change, the case for saving money by reducing energy costs should be irrefutable, shouldnt it? So why is it so difficult to get a business case approved to invest in energy saving programmes in data centres, comms rooms and edge computing?
Despite the gowing influence of ITIL and the aknowledgement that we need to breakdown silos, one of the biggest barriers to investment is departmental politics and split incentives. If senior management is not actively targeting cost reduction then the percieved risk on resillience of energy saving technology will often kill it. Regardless of the benefit to trhe business, Put simply if Data Centre managers are not responsible for the bill why would they bother implimenting enery saving measures. All the aviailable budget will go on what they are targeted on; reducing downtime.
Many organisations no longer run data centres and have either outsourced this to a large facilities management provider or put all their compute and storage into hosted data centres and the Cloud. How many organisations insist on energy saving and carbon reduction measures in these contracts? And what about distributed edge network racks and smallar comms rooms. Split up across multiple buildings their energy use will be even further off the radar.of decision makers, hidden in building energy costs.
Maybe another barrier to investment is that senior management don’t understand the scale of the problem or perhaps they have so many problems that this just isn’t a big enough one to deal with. If they do make enquiries I suspect that they will often be told by their IT or Facilities teams that it isnt a problem or that energy saving measures are too risky because of the split incentive.
Or perhaps it is because the old style Building Management Systems used to manage energy use are not very user friendly. Invariably closed systems using proprietary protocals requiring expensive programminmg to change. Anyone who has tried exporting data out of a BMS to analyse will understand this problem. Fortunately, there are some excellent open system Energy Management solutions available that can connect to legacy systems and bring BMS into the 21st century world of IoT and Big Data.
There are also quick and easy ways to identify the potential scale of the problem in your organisations to help you decide if it is a problem worth addressing. Take a look here at some energy cost calculators to see how much you could save.
If you do decide to tackle this problem there is some good news. Energy saving measures don’t always require large capital expenditure, simple air flow control like blanking panels can make a big difference for almost no cost. And they don’t have to increase risk. Expertly designed,installed and maintained rack aisle containment systems have an ROI of less then a year. Even some of the more capital intensive solutions like free cooling, or installing more efficient EC Fans, can pay back in 12 to 18 month.
This is a specialist area and the industry has a knowledge gap, as the older generation of experts retire they are not being replaced, so you will almost certainly require some external assistance If you think its worth reducing the hidden costs of IT in your organisation please contact AIT to discuss how we can help you.