Top 8 Strategies for Boosting IT Energy Efficiency

New CDW report shows what savvy IT departments are doing to cut energy consumption and bring down costs.

According to CDW's fourth annual Energy Efficiency IT Report published this week, 2011 saw IT departments doubling down on their green investments in effort to lower costs, improve efficiency and adapt to the changing standards of business today.

The report indicates that 54% of IT departments are focusing on energy consumption management to help meet these goals, which has proven to be a successful strategy for 75% of the 760 IT professionals surveyed in the report.

From these surveys, technology solutions firm, CDW, has identified the top eight strategies employed by these companies to help them reduce energy consumption and associated costs. It also provides the average percentage of energy consumption each strategy cut from pre-initiative consumption levels.

The result is a neat roadmap for departments searching for a set of strategies to piece together to help bring in savings in 2012.

As Norm Lillis, vice president of systems solutions at CDW, explained, "Like any other aspect of IT, energy efficiency in the data center is a multi-layer stack of solutions working together, and all available solutions deserve consideration. The combination that makes the most sense will vary with the unique environment in a data center."

Of special note in this report is the increased interest in cloud computing as a tool for energy savings. Called a "game changer" for energy efficient IT, 62% of survey respondents reported that the cloud is an important tool for savings, up from just 47% in 2010.

"While cloud computing is a market basket of discrete technologies and services," said Lillis, "it is entirely about IT efficiency, and as a strategy, it can deliver significant energy savings that will complement other solutions within the data center."

CDW's Top 8 Solutions to Boost IT Energy Efficiency

  1. Virtualize Servers/Storage: 65% of respondents said they have gone virtual to help reduce energy costs. For these users, the move has reduced power demands by 28%.
  2. Consolidate Servers: 60% of respondents have engaged in consolidation efforts, which decreased consumption by about 20%.
  3. Implement Hardware that Employs Newer, Low-Wattage Processors: Even with the financial investment this requires, 46% of respondents say their organizations have taken steps in this direction. Saving 17% on power consumption, this was rated as one of the easier initiatives to implement.
  4. Implement Energy Star Devices: By far the easiest green initiative to implement on the list, 44% of respondents said they have made this switch for a 20% power savings.
  5. Deploy More Power-Efficient Networking Equipment: 31% say they have invested in efficient networking gear with an average power savings of 20%.
  6. Employ Energy Efficient / Load-Shedding Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS): 28% of IT departments have reportedly moved to these power savers for one of the highest savings yields at 21%.
  7. Employ New Cooling Approaches: 23% of respondents said they have adopted more energy efficient cooling systems including in-aisle cooling, hot/cold aisle containment, water cooling and power/cooling management software. Though rated the most difficult system to implement, doing so cut an impressive 22% off users' power consumption.
  8. Increase Use of Hosted Services: Another difficult employment, this strategy has only appealed to 17% of IT departments for a savings of 17%.
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