Odds are your company is tightening its belt for the upcoming year, given the sad state of the economy. Fortunately as a member of the IT department, you have the opportunity to help in the effort -- if you've resolved to do so.
Following are some New Year's resolutions to help your organization not only rein in energy waste but save money in the process. These resolutions shouldn't represent major changes to your IT operations, though they will require some time, and in some cases, an up-front monetary investment. However, the return on the time and money spent should prove worthwhile and perhaps help set the stage for more investments in efficiency down the road.
1. Implement PC power management. Consider investing in one of the numerous products out there designed to put inactive machines into low-power mode when they're not in use. After all, there's no good reason to leave your organization's computers and monitors on 24/7 if they're not doing any useful work. All it does is waste electricity, which your company ends up paying for. Don't let myths about PC power management dissuade you, either: For example, it's not bad for machines to be powered off and on regularly, and with today's PC power management solutions, it's still possible to rouse machines from slumber for patching and updating. How much do you stand to save? I've seen figures ranging from $25 to $75 per year per PC, which can add up depending on how many machines you have running.
2. Track down zombie servers. Plenty of companies have reaped the green benefits of combing the datacenter for servers that are providing no obvious benefit yet remain plugged in, drawing valuable watts and space. Periodic walks through the datacenter can help track down those machines -- but some organizations are taking it a step further. At some companies, someone in IT will periodically track down users or department heads and ask them to justify the servers and other IT equipment they use. Some organizations, such as Microsoft, take it a step further by charging departments on a very granular level for the IT resources they use. The company says this approach has resulted in users being more proactive in reducing consumption because there's an obvious reward -- more money in their budget -- for doing so.