IT and business alignment

IT organizations now better understand that their primary purpose is to provide the business with high-quality and reliable services at the cheapest possible cost. IT also realizes that without the business, it would not even exist.And with outsourcing becoming more and more prevalent, IT needs to continue to find ways to show its importance to the business.This is often referred to as an attempt by IT to get a “seat at the table,” with the chief information officer (CIO) being part of the core team that makes strategic decisions for the business.

Energy, carbon, and sustainability challenges facing businesses today provide IT with a real and significant opportunity to play that strategic role. Additionally, IT itself is often a large contributor when it comes to the organization’s energy consumption and carbon footprint. Estimates have IT contributing to approximately 2 percent of all emissions worldwide.To put that figure into perspective, the worldwide aviation industry is also estimated to be responsible for 2 percent of those emissions.

The aggregate amount of energy consumed in the process just delineated is sizable in and of itself, but IT support of email does not end there. For email to function properly, these correlated elements rely on a steady flow of power.What happens if there is a sudden problem with the power supply—a reduction or loss? The above systems will often be connected to uninterruptable power supply (UPS) devices that will prevent problems should a power issue occur.

And, yes, the UPS devices themselves draw power as well. If there is a power outage, the UPS may communicate with a generator, telling it to become active.The generator will burn fuel to provide the power so that there is continuous service. The generator provides power long enough to move to the disaster recovery setup in another facility, which often is a mirror of what was just described. Now consider the number and variety of applications in use on a daily basis, and one can begin to understand why IT has such a large impact on the environment. Sustainable IT management is a reflection and demonstration of a company’s true commitment to an overall economic and environmental focus.

There are many steps the IT organization can take to make itself more efficient. Here are four key areas that organizations should investigate. • Virtualization management. Utilization of equipment in many data centers is very poor.

There is significant available computing power that simply is not being leveraged optimally. For example, in many organizations the servers in a data center have only 10–15 percent utilization, which is far from being optimal.As a result, there is a significant amount of optimization that can occur. Virtualization management is one way to improve efficiencies within the data center, allowing IT managers to maximize equipment utilization while reducing energy use and costs.

  • Operational energy management. Organizations often have little discrete information about how energy is used within a data center, and they often cannot see details regarding how energy use changes in real time.With operational energy management, they can achieve this visibility with solutions that allow organizations to measure, monitor, and optimize their use of energy in data centers.

Finally

Operational energy management is about making data centers more efficient. It is about enabling the systems to run with greater reliability and to meet business needs while drawing less power. It is about improving data center efficiency metrics such as the green grid’s power usage effectiveness and data center infrastructure efficiency

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