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IT Sustainability Think Tank: How partnerships might help enterprises reach their green goals

It requires a village to create a credible and robust IT sustainability strategy, usually are not should enterprises be collaborating with to create their green IT goals possible?

Jay Dietrich


Published: 05 Aug 2022

Implementing an electronic infrastructure sustainability strategy successfully requires collaboration across several individuals and teams from various disciplines sufficient reason for differing responsibilities. This is simply not always easy. An enterprise must create partnerships across business organisations sufficient reason for its suppliers. Internal organisations and critical equipment and providers must collectively assign the strategy exactly the same priority as reliability, resiliency and performance objectives.

Most datacentre operators hire a dedicated sustainability team or lead. This person or group must think just like the IT and facilities operation managers with whom they work. They need to understand both groups critical operating parameters and business objectives and create a sustainability strategy that complements operational effectiveness, lowers costs, facilitates revenue, and delivers meaningful environmental performance improvements.

Business function advocates people with a passion for sustainability play an essential role in executing the sustainability strategy. They serve as a crucial resource for justifying and completing sustainability projects. These advocates rally vital stakeholders, manage adherence to project timelines, and make adjustments as business conditions and plans change.

An organisations choices when locating and designing a fresh datacentre, or selecting colocation and cloud providers, often set the boundaries of a sustainability strategy. The positioning and technical capabilities of the datacentre (encompassing attributes such as for example free cooling and renewable energy availability, coolant system type, and facility also it infrastructure and control systems) shape the strategy. The CIO, engineering design and procurement teams must acknowledge material, equipment and service procurement specifications that minimise total cost of ownership and meet sustainability objectives.

Any enterprise that depends upon colocation and public cloud providers for at the very least some of its IT operations needs strong partnerships. IT tenants must use procurement, legal and sustainability teams to negotiate contract language with the provider. The contract should mandate the provision of data and operational metrics necessary for sustainability reporting, and for meeting objectives around renewable energy procurement, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, etc.

Colocation providers face different challenges, because they usually do not control the IT equipment that represents the majority of the total power demand in a colocation facility. They need to collaborate with tenants onto it system efficiency and information availability to adhere to emerging datacentre reporting, facility also it efficiency regulations.

Facilities, IT and procurement teams should and sometimes must cooperate to boost datacentre energy and water use efficiency. Listed below are three examples:

  • Procurement, IT equipment designers/manufacturers also it operations must collaborate on equipment purchasing decisions. The choice process must look beyond lowest first cost to take into account important sustainability elements: maximised IT workload delivered per unit of energy consumed, reduced degrees of embedded carbon within equipment, and the capability to upgrade the gear.
  • The is (slowly) adopting direct liquid cooling (DLC) as a far more energy- and water-efficient cooling method. The engineering, IT and procurement teams and equipment suppliers must combine DLC facility also it components into a built-in system and establish procedures for equipment repair and replacement. One of the primary hurdles to DLC implementation is facilities also it organisations failing woefully to acknowledge a unified strategy that delivers operational reliability and continuity.
  • Organisations can reduce cooling energy use by over 20% by raising IT equipment inlet temperatures to top of the end of ASHRAEs recommended range and installing real-time temperature monitoring and control systems. Accomplishing this involves IT team involvement to handle and manage potential reliability and resiliency risks (exposure of hot spots because of increased temperatures, the automated systems temperature excursion recovery actions and response times, etc).

These examples illustrate the significance of intra-organisational collaboration in delivering energy-efficiency project results that achieve sustainability strategy goals.

Cross-discipline collaboration can be essential when integrating intermittent renewable energy resources right into a reliable energy supply. The complexities of using renewable energy often require datacentre operators to judge many diverse clean energy contracting options.

Navigating renewable procurement choices requires procurement, energy management and legal teams to collectively develop expertise and contracting strategies. The procurement team should set up a strong partnership with an educated buyers agent, alongside several preferred energy retailers and/or renewable project developers to define repeatable contract terms that streamline the procurement process while maintaining a proper degree of competition. Also, the CIO and CFO will have to participate to bound the acceptable financial risks and cost premiums involved.

Sustainability initiatives cannot succeed without engagement, support and commitment from executive teams, operations and support teams, and key suppliers of equipment and services. Each business function must take part in developing sustainability goals and fully invest in accomplishing them. Additionally it is critical to involve key suppliers as partners, make sure that contracts specify sustainability requirements, and solicit supplier input where their products influence the strategy.

In a nutshell, it requires collaboration among all responsible parties whether external or internal to provide on the objectives of a declared sustainability strategy.

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