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25 Ways To Cut IT Costs


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Ways to Cut Costs Without Cutting Services

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25 Ways To Cut IT Costs

  1. 1. an IT Management eBook25 Ways toIntelligently CutIT Costs®
  2. 2. 2 9 Ways to Cut Costs Without Cutting Services6 5 Tactical Ways to Control Costs8 5 Ways to Cut IT Costs Without Cutting Deliverables10 6 Ways to Cut Energy Costs Outside of theData ­CenterContents…This content was adapted from’s CIO Update Web site. Contributors: Jeff Vance,Valerie Arraj, Robert McGarvey, and Drew Robb.6 821025 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs
  3. 3. 2 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT CostsWhen an IT manager gets the order to “domore with less,” a shiver runs down thespine. IT managers know that this usu-ally translatesinto doing less with less andfinding ways to hide that fact.Compounding the problemis the fact that IT has alreadybeen in cost-cutting, efficien-cy-boosting mode for severalyears now.Haven’t we squeezed everylast ounce of efficiency out ofIT? When I started researchingthis story, that’s the questionsI wanted to answer.I posted a request for sourceson the Web site Help a Report-er Out, and I wasn’t expect-ing much. I figured I’d get theusual suspects: virtualization,SaaS, outsourcing, and little else.Was I in for a surprise? Sure, I received plenty of e-mailsabout virtualization and SaaS. However, the more than 100responses suggested plenty of other cost-cutting strate-gies; everything from replacing dark fiber with wireless toactually cutting back on service levels, especially if thoseservices, such as 24/7 help-desk availability, aren’t missioncritical.Culled from input of more than 100 IT pros, here are nineways to trim IT costs without cutting services. A few ideasare along the lines of what you’ve heard before, such asdata center automation, buteven in these categories youmight learn some tricks thatyou may not have thought of.1. EmbraceAutomationIt’s no secret that virtualiza-tion is one of the bright spotsin this economy. According toa survey by Robert Half Tech-nology, 40 percent of CIOsplanned to invest in virtual-ization in 2009. Data centerautomation in general (includ-ing automated applicationdiscovery, consolidated eventmanagement, and change andconfiguration management) isalso holding up strong, mainlybecause it too promises to cut costs by eliminating cum-bersome manual tasks and boosting efficiency.Automation isn’t limited to the data center, though. VDI(virtual desktop infrastructure) can drastically reduce thecost of managing employee desktops, and some organiza-tions are taking a closer look at a range of “manual tasks”and finding plenty of room for automation throughout theenterprise.9 Ways to Cut CostsWithout Cutting ServicesBy Jeff Vance
  4. 4. 3 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT CostsA case in point is the New York Office of Temporary andDisability Assistance (OTDA). OTDA is responsible formost types of assistance that New York citizens can re-ceive, from food stamps to heating assistance to housingto disability benefits. Until recently, anyone applying forassistance had to visit an OTDA office in-person, where anagent would fill out paperwork and enroll them in the pro-gram. Making a cumbersome process even more arduous,various offices handled various types of assistance, mean-ing that a person would have to go to one office for foodstamps, another for heating assistance, and still anotherfor disability services.Clearly this wasn’t a cost-effective way to provide theseservices. In 2008, OTDA launched the Web portal My­Benefits, allowing citizens to apply for a range of assis-tance online. Even with the Web site in place, though, ser-vice costs were still high. Each help desk call cost the stateabout $25. With approximately 62,500 people accessingthe site each month, and about 10 percent of those callingfor help, usually because of a service interruption, costs forthe help desk alone were more than $150,000 per month.Using monitoring tools from Precise and Symantec, OTDAwas able to pinpoint problems and trim these costs. “Wewere able to identify a number of application and systemerrors that could have led to a surge in help desk calls,”said Daniel Chan, CIO of OTDA. “With better monitoringand benchmarks, we’re now able to find and fix problemsbefore outages occur.”2. Open SourceOK, switching to open source is a pretty obvious cost sav-er. However, many organizations worry that whatever theysave in reduced licensing costs will simply be shifted totraining and support.“A few of our clients plan to switch from enterprise systemsto open source, perhaps just for a year or two, as a way toride out the recession,” said Barbara Gomolski, an analystwith Gartner. She noted that those make the switch tend tobe mid-sized companies. “It’s not Fortune 500 companiesdoing this.”OTDA fits the bill here as well. “We’re in the process ofsun-setting commercial software,” Chan said. “And we’realready saving $700,000 per year.”Chan pointed out a hidden cost of commercial software:specialized software consultants. “Commercial softwareis highly proprietary, which means that you have to hirepeople with that specialized knowledge. Of course, youpay a premium for that knowledge.”If you do switch to open-source software, be sure it’s a ma-ture product. According to J. Schwan, managing partnerof Solstice Consulting, you should choose an open-sourceproject based not on its feature set, but on how strong thecommunity is behind it. Projects with a strong ecosystemoffer better support and service options and have beenproven by a large user base.3. Eliminate DuplicatesBelieve it or not, there are still plenty of duplicate systemsout there, even in relatively lean organizations. Organiza-tions will often purchase a bulked-up enterprise softwaresuite that contains, for example, a business intelligence(BI) feature. Since they didn’t purchase the suite with BI inmind, they go out and purchase a separate BI suite.Other companies pay too much for software they use spar-ingly. Bimba Manufacturing Co. of Monee, Ill., found thatit was overpaying for its ERP package because the com-pany, which manufactures pneumatic equipment, had toomany ERP licenses when very few employees actually usedthe software. While many people accessed it, most wereonly checking on very specific and limited information thatdidn’t need to be walled off in the ERP system.Bimba moved that information into a separate databaseand developed some simple Web apps and saved plentyof money in the process. The company wouldn’t reveal ex-act figures, but said it “experienced six-figure savings.”
  5. 5. 4 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs4. Cut ServicesI know, the title of this article promises to discuss cuttingcosts without cutting services, but that may be a wrong-headed approach. “Are there opportunities to reduceservice levels without impacting operations?” Gartner’sGomolski asked. “Do you really need to have help-deskavailability in the middle of the night? Would it hurt to ex-tend the turn-around time on a work order from 12 hoursto a couple of days?”If you trim excess services properly, the cuts may not evenbe noticed by end users. “You have to be careful aboutthis,” Gomolski said. “Pay attention to the flow of yourbusiness. If you’re always busy in the early morning, beaware of that and be sure that whatever you cut doesn’tcome into conflict with your organization’s workflows.”5. Examine WirelessIf you have a mobile workforce you may be spending toomuch on wireless. The Yankee Group’s CIO Guide to CostCutting series of studies found that many organizationshave a piecemeal approach to wireless. Different individu-als or business groups adopt their own plans, and, as a re-sult, organizations have little control and spend more thanthey should.The report looked specifically at SMBs and found that a125-person organization can save simply by stopping thepractice of reimbursing individuals for their cell phone use.Instead, the organization should sign up for a corporateplan with an “enterprise-savvy carrier,” a switch that trans-lates into roughly $100,000 in savings. That $100,000 isthe savings per year, with the upfront migration and imple-mentation costs totaling less than $15,000.As dual-mode phones and plans become available, or-ganizations can save even more money by adding a WiFicomponent to their cellular plans.Picking wireless networks over traditional cabled ones isanother cost-cutting wireless option. Gold Key/PHR Ho-tels and Resorts manages hotels, restaurants, resorts, andtime-share properties in the Virginia Beach, Va., area. Forsite-to-site communications Gold Key currently relies oncostly T1 lines.“We’re in the process of deploying Motorola wirelessbridges to replace our T1s,” said Phillip Prestipino, tele-com engineer at Gold Key. With a range of seven milesand no need for line-of-sight, the wireless bridges can con-nect every property they manage. When the Motorola de-ployment is completed, Gold Key will migrate to VoIP andPrestipino estimates that it will achieve ROI in 20 months.After that they’ll continue to save a minimum of $1,000 permonth per property versus T1 lines, adding up to more$100,000 per year.6. Get in the CloudCloud computing has moved beyond the hype phase. Sure,there’s still skepticism out there, and vendors are treatingcloud as some sort of magic bullet, but there are plenty ofapplications ready to migrate to the cloud that can saveyou money today. The most obvious is e-mail. Google hasput together some compelling numbers about outsourc-ing e-mail. Compared to hosting Microsoft Exchange inhouse, Google’s enterprise-class e-mail offers the samefeature set as Exchange at a much lower price.According to Rajen Sheth, senior product manager forGoogle Apps, switching to Google can cut the typical costof e-mail from $250 to $300 per user, per year to $50 peruser, per year. Before you dismiss Sheth’s number as bi-ased, he’s backed up by a Yankee Group study. Yankeeargues that a 75-person SMB will save nearly $70,000 peryear switching from in-house e-mail and messaging to acloud-based solution like Google.“As your organization moves more services to the cloud,you have the opportunity to look for other cost savings,”said Jeffrey Breen, CTO, Yankee Group. Hardware costsshould go down as you outsource server management andmaintenance. “You may also end up purchasing cheaperequipment, such as netbooks instead of laptops,” he said.Cloud computing does have its drawbacks, especially interms of security and compliance, but Breen believes thatthird-party providers will tackle these problems as thespace evolves.
  6. 6. 5 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs7. HaggleHow much of your IT budget do you consider locked in?If you think of ongoing service and licensing contractsas fixed costs, you’re probably spending more than youshould. “Vendors are definitely more willing to deal now,”said Marc Snyder, managing director, IT advisory practice,KPMG. “Consider your options and work with them to trimcosts.”Snyder said that it’s important to do your research andhave alternatives lined up. Don’t simply ask vendors to cuttheir prices. Knowing your options helps you negotiatefrom a position of strength.Carolina Advanced Digital (CAD), an engineering compa-ny that provides IT infrastructure, security, and manage-ment solutions, recommends that its customers switch toHP ProCurve and away from other networking solutionsfrom vendors like Cisco. “HP ProCurve products comestandard with free lifetime firmware updates and free life-time warranties, maintenance, and support, including next-business-day replacement or repair,” wrote Sarah Burris,marketing manager, CAD, in an e-mail for this article. “Thedifference in support costs alone has saved our customersmore than $100,000, not to mention the cost of ownershipadvantage and strong ROI.”8. Go GreenTalk of Green IT usually turns back to something I men-tioned earlier: virtualization. “If you still have each servertied to an individual application, you’re probably seeing,to be charitable, a 20 percent utilization rate,” said KPMG’sSnyder.According to Snyder, server consolidation through virtu-alization is a good first step on the path to Green IT, al-though you should also start working with outside entities,such as utilities (more on that later). The Yankee Group’sBreen cautioned that you need to have a sense of purposebefore starting a Green IT initiative. “What does Green ITmean for your organization?” he asked. “Is Green IT just abunch of signs and a feel-good story for your employees?If so, don’t invest. If you can actually save on electricity,cooling, floor space, etc., then do it. However, you need todemonstrate ROI.”According to a report by IDC commissioned by Redemtech,a provider of corporate computer recycling and reuse ser-vices, Green IT efforts should go well beyond simple powerreductions. Companies should study the entire equipmentlifecycle, from how a piece of hardware was produced onthrough to its environmental impact when disposed. Thestudy, Beyond Power: IT’s Roadmap to Sustainable Com-puting, advises organizations to first develop best practic-es for sustainability, rather than approaching sustainabilityin a piecemeal fashion, which is common today.Other advice includes extending the equipment replace-ment cycle, often by redeploying equipment to other de-partments that could still benefit from it; choosing equip-ment designed to be recyclable; refurbishing equipmentin the middle of its lifecycle to help extend its life; andseeking alternatives to disposal, such as donating usedequipment to charities.9. Found MoneyA benefit of that final piece of Green IT advice — dona-tion — has the added benefit of providing a tax write-off.I asked Snyder of KPMG what he has seen to be the mostcommon mistake companies make when cutting IT costs.“Leaving money on the table,” he said.“Are there tax write-offs, tax incentives, or even utility-sponsored incentives that you qualify for?” For instance,PGE in California will subsidize virtualization efforts.Many utilities give incentives when organizations agree tocut back on power usage during peak usage times. Thiscan be as simple as turning out every other row of lights.Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables Ef-ficiency to see what’s available in your area.Gold Key’s Prestipino mentioned that his company is ex-ploring these sorts of incentives, while also pursuing otherstate-sponsored ones. In Virginia, companies can get in-centives for allowing workers to spend part of the weekworking from home.
  7. 7. 6 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT CostsIf 2009 was the year of doing more with less, youshouldn’t expect much to change in 2010. Even if theeconomy improves there’s still practical ways — andreasons — to keep watching your costs.Here are five ways to identify and cut specific costs with-in your organization. As an added bonus, some of thesesuggestions will also help to reduce your overall carbonfootprint.1. Eliminate Unnecessary,Legacy ServicesThe chances that you are sup-porting systems that are obso-lete may seem very slim, but ithappens more often than youthink — especially in organiza-tions that are extremely busywith day-to-day support ac-tivities and don’t have a goodhandle on their services, appli-cations, and infrastructure.If you have an up-to-date ser-vice portfolio and/or catalog,configuration, and asset re-pository, your ability to morereadily identify these oppor-tunities is much greater. Butif you don’t, your first step isto get a handle on the list ofcomponents you do have. If you can’t locate an applicationowner or consumer, chances are this is a good candidatefor retirement. Finding and retiring these obsolete servicesallows you the potential to save money on application, OS,and tool licenses; hardware and associated power costs;and support costs.2. Identify and Eliminate UnnecessaryHard Copy ReportsLook at your inventory of paper reports. Capitalizing onthe inventory of services you collected to eliminate un-necessary legacy services, your first step is to identify thereports you are producing. Make sure these reports con-tinue to be a requirement for decision making or analysis.In addition to eliminating obsolete reports, this may be agood time to consider implementing a strategy and train-ing program for electronic content management. Minimiz-ing hard copy reports can translate to significant savingsby reducing paper consump-tion; reducing recycling costs;and reducing report process-ing support costs.3. Evaluate YourThird-Party ContractsIf you don’t have a central re-pository for all of your con-tracts, now might be a time toimplement a supplier manage-ment process, which beginswith getting a handle on allof the contracts you currentlyhave in place.Once you’ve inventoried these,evaluate the contracts for op-portunities to save money by:• Consolidating contracts: tactical, point solutions in siloedorganizations obscure visibility. Combine contracts wherepossible to negotiate better pricing and simplify contractmanagement.5 Tactical Ways to Control CostsBy Valerie Arraj
  8. 8. 7 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs5. Understand and Manage the Cost ofChangesGood practice for IT governance suggests that all IT in-vestments are managed for value. As such, it is importantthat you manage IT projects to assure that you are gettingvalue for money spent. Large projects that require signifi-cant capital and resources should be managed closely todetermine whether they are on track to produce the valuethat they were originally approved to provide. Projectsthat overrun costs and/or no longer will deliver the valueproposed should be cut to eliminate unnecessary ongoingcosts.This is always a difficult decision once money is spent, butis important when evaluating business investment. Smallercomponents of work that are used to enhance or modifyexisting services, but don’t fall under the governance ofa managed project should also be looked at for cost tovalue. Initial projection of cost along with post implemen-tation review of changes along with a review of the numberof changes being backed out or changes causing subse-quent incidents should be analyzed on a consistent basisto drive continuous improvement into the change processto assure adequate value for the investment.A single small change may be a small investment, but manysmall changes that are introducing risk and not providingvalue over time add up to significant cost.• Right-sizing service levels: determine if your service levels asrepresented in the contract remain appropriate to the businessneed. In busy, reactive IT organizations, contracts that auto-matically renew are oftentimes not reviewed prior to renewaland service levels needs may have changed leading to bettercontract pricing.• Shopping for better pricing: where you have options for ser-vice provision from multiple vendors, now may be the time toshop around for better pricing. The economic climate is perva-sive and both your current vendor and any competitive vendorsmay have better deals to consider.4. Evaluate Your Capacity ManagementStrategyNow more than ever it can be extremely beneficial to lookat virtualization to assist maximizing the value of infrastruc-ture and controlling costs. The benefits of server virtualiza-tion can include a reduction in:Server hardware and hardware support costs•Energy consumption and costs•Data center space and associated overhead•
  9. 9. 8 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT CostsCutting IT budgets may not be easy, but whenyou know where to slice, the savings can addup. Here are some tips from six experts onhow it can be done.1. Do an InventoryJust maybe the biggest IT savings come from “cleaningout the closet,” says Peter S. Greis, principal, IT Planning Management, Capgemini Financial Services StrategicBusiness Unit.“The first step in saving moneyis to understand what you re-ally have,” he says. Accordingto Greis, it’s shockingly com-mon for Capgemini to do anIT portfolio review — as Greiscalls this intensive review of acompany’s existing IT infra-structure — where it discoversthat “1,000 applications are inuse enterprisewide, but theyonly need 100. There’s oftenconsiderable waste. That iswhy we say the first step is: Un-derstand what you have.”Cuts that nobody will noticewill immediately present them-selves, he says. “Portfolio rationalization is, in our experi-ence, the biggest opportunity for real cost savings in anyIT operation.”2. Go “Good Enough”That’s what Rene Bonvanie, senior VP and head of IT forRedwood City, Calif., application developer Serena Soft-ware, says is his mantra for spearheading broad cost con-trols in his company’s IT budget. He points to a recent de-cision to switch to Google’s GMail.“We are saving $750,000 a year by moving from MicrosoftExchange,” says Bonvanie, who indicates the switch will in-volve all of the company’s 850global employees. Is GMailas robust and versatile as Ex-change or Microsoft Outlook?Bonvanie says the questionmisses the point.“GMail may not have all thefeatures, but it is good enoughand, for now, that is our crite-rion,” he says. “We won’t bespending more for features wedon’t need.”Chew on that: If “goodenough” is the signpost, doesa company need to upgradefrom XP or go from Office2003 to 2007, to pick two glar-ing examples? Bonvanie saysno and, at Serena, unless an employee can demonstratea vivid need to go with Microsoft’s latest, they will keepusing what they already have because — to repeat — “it’sgood enough.”5 Ways to Cut IT CostsWithout Cutting DeliverablesBy Robert McGarvey
  10. 10. 9 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs3. Offshore MoreThat’s what Hackett Group senior research director ErikDorr says his clients tell him they will be doing — and, saysDorr, the pace of new offshoring initiatives will be brisk.Right now, the surveyed companies say they are offshor-ing around 15 percent of their IT labor — but Dorr saysthat will jump to 26 percent within two years. Bigger, morecomplex projects will probably soon be winding down inDallas and Chicago and moving to Bangalore and Beijing,says Dorr.“We have seen what we can only call a dramatic increasein offshoring — the pace is really accelerating,” he says. Astrengthening dollar vis a vis the Indian rupee is makingthe savings look even more attractive, Dorr adds.4. Automate More IT TasksWhat if your organization had a widget, a bare-bones in-structional set, that every night at midnight turned off all IPtelephones, every WLAN access point, maybe every scan-ner and photocopier? Multiply that over hundreds, pos-sibly tens of thousands of devices and, instantly, the sav-ings add up to real money, says Doug Murray, VP and GMof Volume Products Group at Extreme Networks in SantaClara, Calif.A study of IP phones that are shut off at 5 p.m. and turnedon at 9 a.m. showed network costs dropped a stagger-ing 75 percent, per Murray, who indicates he sees a trendwhere more companies deploy more widgets to cut en-ergy use and network costs.Automation also can lead to need for less staff, says SharonChang, HP’s senior product marketing manager for serverautomation, who explains that automating routine choressuch as pushing out Windows patches to all networkedcomputers — rather than doing this ad hoc, computer bycomputer — can have significant impact on staffing needs.In a company where there is one admin to every 35 users,automation of simple tasks can alter the ratio to 1 to 100.“That frees up IT staff to do a lot more work that will makea difference for the organization,” says Chang.5. Stay FlexibleThat’s the advice from IT consultant Steve Jenkins of theLyndon Group — that’s how to avoid getting locked intoexpensive and even unnecessary projects.His advice is to divide projects into small units deliverablein, say, 60- or 90-day timeframes, and keep alert to theneed to alter course at those same intervals.“IT, acting in isolation, sometimes gets a reputation for go-ing off on tangents that aren’t meaningful to the business,”Jenkins says.The way to stay on a focused course, he stresses, is to viewevery project as consisting of tiny, deliverable steps — andto maintain close contacts with end-users. Do they stillneed what they said they needed nine months ago? Do thegoals need to be tweaked? Keep up a steady examinationof just those types of questions, says Jenkins, and this is aprime way for IT to win a reputation for a flexible focus onend results that matter to the enterprise.
  11. 11. 10 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT CostsThe analyst community is rife with webcasts,press releases, and new research studies aboutthe glories of Green IT. Most of it, however, fo-cuses on the data center and most of it comeswith a heavy price tag — just change out all your servers,put in this new power and cooling configuration, and, hey“Presto” a brand new Green IT world.Yet there are many simple andmostly inexpensive ways tosave big on IT outside of thedata center. This includes cen-tralized power-off of PCs andperipherals, buying EnergyStar devices, more efficientpower supplies, right-sizingdesktop components, defrag-mentation, and moving to thinclient architecture.1. CentralizedPower-OffOnly a few years back, peopleactually debated whether itwas better to turn off equip-ment at night or not. Particu-larly with desktops, the argument went that it might bebetter to leave the hard drive spinning away than to haveit started and stopped on a daily basis. That’s a sure wayto win friends at the local utility and enemies in your ownfinance department.But rather than having someone hoof around the build-ing turning off all desktops, printers, and other equipment,there are various ways to turn gear off. Computer manage-ment software, for instance, can be installed to turn offnetworked devices (not just PCs) when not in use. And thesavings can be significant.“Central control of desktopsleep modes to turn desk-tops off at night, during holi-days, and weekends can re-duce consumption by 30 to 75Watts per machine,” said Ken-neth Brill, executive director ofthe Uptime Institute. “Whileindividually small, the savingscumulatively add up whentens of thousands of units areinvolved.”If your electric rates are $0.08per kWh that equates to annu-al energy savings per machineof around $24. That doesn’t in-clude power and cooling over-head savings.Miami Dade County Public Schools, for example, appliedsuch a solution across 80,000 PCs at 370 locations and proj-ects annual electricity cost reductions of $2.1 million. It usesBigFix Power Management by BigFix, Inc. of Emeryville,Calif. Now the school district is working with the facilitiesdepartment to add this technology to the management ofAC systems. The savings from this could potentially dwarfthose being realized on the electricity front.6 Ways to Cut Energy CostsOutside of the Data CenterBy Drew Robb
  12. 12. 11 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs2. UPS DeliversA way to extend the savings beyond the desktop to spenda few bucks more on higher quality uninterruptible powersupplies (UPS) that provide more efficiency and less waste.The Back-UPS ES series by APC features SmartShedding,which senses when the computer has either been turnedoff or has gone into sleep mode, so it can shut off power tounused peripherals plugged into the controlled outlets.“All devices, not just desktops, have a certain amount oflosses just for having them plugged in and on and not per-forming any useful work,” said Carl Cottuli, vice presidentof APC’s data center science center. “Turning off theseunits saves energy, which has a cascading effect in termsof power and cooling of savings.”The APC Back-UPS ES 750, for instance, provides surgeprotection and battery backup. Cottuli laid out the eco-nomics as follows: with an all-in-one printer, speakers, andan external storage device plugged in to the UPS panel,you can save about $32 annually. This assumes three hoursof daily use on average at a $0.10 electric rate. Another $8can be saved via the unit’s more efficient charger. The UPSitself consumes around $2.63 in electricity yearly for $37.37per year. Once again, factor that against the number ofdesks and the gains grow substantially.3. Right-SizingThe desktop electricity footprint can also be cut down bysmart purchasing policies such as right-sizing of desktopcomponents. Every watt reduced at the CPU saves an ad-ditional watt or more on the fans, power supplies, powerdistribution units, UPSs, and HVAC systems. AMD and Intelare both releasing lower power processors, and vendorsare designing more efficient fans and power supplies. Itcan pay big dividends if you give some attention to theefficiency of individual pieces of equipment and even theefficiency of the components within them.Take the case of memory. Is all that RAM really required?Adding a little more memory might equate to 10 moreWatts. Over the life of the desktop, that unneeded 10Watts has an energy cost of $28 a year, according to Brill.“Depending on type, memory consumes energy whetherused or not.”Of course, if you are using Windows Vista, you may needall the memory. So another strategy is to slim back to Linuxfor routine desktop functions as that typically requires a lotless power and energy.4. Getting Energy SmartThe U.S. EPA began the Energy Star program in 1992 asa means of saving energy and cutting greenhouse emis-sions. The program involves certifying home, commercial,and electrical/electronic products as being energy effi-cient as a means to encourage their purchase. The pro-gram initially targeted computers and monitors, but overthe years it has grown to cover more than 50 categories ofcertified products. According to the EPA, Americans havenow purchased more than 2 billion Energy Star products.Their use reduced electrical consumption by 150 billionkilowatt hours annually, saving $12 billion dollars. Go to compare power usage rates andfeatures on hundreds of qualified Energy Star devices.“We always try to get people to look at the lifetime costof products,” said Andrew Fanara, product develop-ment team leader at the EPA who works on the EnergyStar program. “If you are just buying a server or desktopbased on what the stated cost is and don’t take into ac-count operations, you are missing half to two thirds of yourexpenses.”It is also worthwhile to check out the 80 Plus program(, which focuses on more efficient powersupplies.“Five years ago the average power supplies were operat-ing between 60 and 70 percent efficiency and the powerfactor correction was horrible in these devices,” said KentDunn, director of energy and OEM partnerships for PCpower management firm Verdiem Corp. of Seattle, WA.Dunn is a program manager for 80 Plus. “An 80 Plus powersupply on its own saves 85 kWh compared to its predeces-sors, then add 25 kWh for power factor correction, plus thebenefit you get from reducing the load on the cooling sys-tem, and you start looking at 130 to 140 kWh per year.”
  13. 13. 12 25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT Costs, an IT Management eBook. © 2010,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.Back to Contents25 Ways to Intelligently Cut IT CostsAmerisure Mutual Insurance Co., based in FarmingtonHills, Mich., for example, utilizes Wyse 5150SE, S50 andX90 devices. “The electrical pull for these thin clientsis about ten percent of the pull from a regular worksta-tion environment,” said Jack Wilson, enterprise architectat Amerisure. “You can also keep them for seven to nineyears so you also save on PC refreshes and exert far lesslandfill impact.”And if your clients are Windows, that old faithful of thedesktop and server, disk defragmentation, is a time testedway to keep energy costs down. According to a study by3D, for instance, running Diskeeper by Dis-keeper Corp. of Burbank, Calif., enables systems to runwith lower energy usage and produce faster results. Testresults showed an average of 0.12 kilowatt hours of energysavings per PC per day. That equates to over $20 per PCper year. For 1000 PC’s that’s $20,000 or more.If you look beyond the data center you’ll find a lot of waysto make the business a lot of green.5. Bring in Outside AirSome may argue that a few pennies here and there aredwarfed by the huge cost of keeping the building or datacenter cool. Well, there is a solution to that: bring in out-side air. Branch offices and administrative buildings canslash their cooling bills by using outside air economizers asa means of having less reliance on chillers or AC units.“You have the choice to switch to outside air and keep thechiller plant operating, or as the outside air temperaturedrops even more, you can save even more money by turn-ing off the chiller plant,” said Vali Sorrell, a mechanical en-gineer for the Syska Hennesssy Group of New York City.In most parts of the world, he said, outside air can be usedaround the clock all year. This has the added benefit of im-proving the reliability of chillers and AC systems, which arehistorically the flakiest of all equipment on the mechanicalside.6. Thin ClientsFinally, thin clients are a great way to slim down the elec-tricity bill.“Total power consumption of a typical PC and monitor canbe as high as 175 Watts, whereas thin clients can use aslittle as 4 Watts,” said Andi Mann, an analyst at EnterpriseManagement Associates.