Wipro cutting costs with greener it


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Greenhouse gas emissions aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind in a typical data center. With its almost sterile climate-controlled interiors and the absence of chemical discharges or smoke, the data center might seem at first glance to be perfectly eco-friendly.

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Wipro cutting costs with greener it

  1. 1. Cutting Costs with Greener IT Produced byOctober 2009 http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu
  2. 2. Cutting Costs with Greener ITGreenhouse gas emissions aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mindin a typical data center. With its almost sterile climate-controlled interiors andthe absence of chemical discharges or smoke, the data center might seem atfirst glance to be perfectly eco-friendly.Until, that is, one considers the massive amounts of growth. But the rapid rise in the last decade in the numberelectrical power that data centers and other information of data centers, and the amount of energy they consume,technology (IT) assets consume. According to one estimate, makes that growth-at-any-cost attitude unsustainable.the typical data center uses as much power as 25,000homes. Meanwhile, the global emissions attributable to The Green IT Opportunityinformation and communications technologies, includingdata centers, computers, mobile phones, computing, and Businesses, government, academia and others are undertelecommunications networks, is about 0.86 gigatons increasing pressure to take serious measure of their carbonannually, or nearly 2% of all emissions, according to a 2008 footprints. More consumers than ever make purchasingMcKinsey & Co. analysis. decisions with environmental considerations in mind. Boards of directors, anticipating regulatory changes,And the fastest-growing contributor to those emissions will demand that companies cut energy consumption, emissionsbe data centers, whose carbon footprint is projected to rise or both. And 68% of IT executives polled by the marketfivefold between 2002 and 2020, according to the McKinsey research firm IDC in 2009 rated energy efficiency a “top ofanalysis. The electricity to feed the IT demand, of course, mind” priority with regard to green IT.comes from generating stations that produce varying levelsof emissions, depending on their fuel type, making IT a The good news is that IT lies at the epicenter of tremendoussignificant contributor to global warming, albeit indirectly. opportunity for energy-related cost savings. For example, some studies suggest that virtualization, a technology forThe environmental challenge of such massive power managing IT hardware and software can reduce a dataconsumption, however, offers a huge opportunity to cut center’s electricity bill for servers by 80% — mostlycosts. This article will explore the increasing demands because it requires considerably fewer servers. Ancillarythat organizations face today in meeting the energy needs benefits include larger budgets for value-added projects andof their IT assets. Experts from Wharton and Wipro smaller physical space requirements, made possible throughTechnologies will discuss “green IT” solutions that offer the a transition to green IT.potential to dramatically cut energy expenses, and carbonand other greenhouse gas emissions. The term “green IT” can cover a bewildering array of domains and devices including data centers, desktop andThere was a time when a chief information officer could mobile computing stations and monitors, networks, IP-blithely ignore that IT rang up the highest electricity bill of based communications systems, and HVAC systems usedany department, or that the need for new hardware kept to keep equipment running cool. Where does one begin togrowing — “server sprawl” — to keep pace with operational address these components in a way that is holistic, realisticdemands. For years, expanding the data center was a nearly and appropriate for the organization’s needs?unquestioned requirement to keep pace with business2 | Cutting Costs with Greener IT
  3. 3. A key step before diving into any remediation plan is to A Wipro software offering, for instance, gives companiesperform a thorough assessment. The tools for assessing the ability to recalculate their emissions after mergers orenterprise-level green practices have evolved from do-it- acquisitions and also to compare emissions-reduction goalsyourself Excel spreadsheets to elaborate carbon accounting to actual performance. This “Carbon Management Solution”software suites available on a subscription basis. By first software for enterprises uses a software-as-a-servicedetermining a baseline, organizations can set clear goals for subscription model that’s become standard for Web-basedadopting greener IT practices. Potential solutions include reporting and analytics tools.virtualization, IT-aided energy conservation and even use Software can allow entire organizations, not just IT shops,of renewable resources to bring an IT operation closer to to understand the sources of their emissions, to preparecarbon-neutral emissions status. reports for registries maintained by the U.S. EnvironmentalBut given the significant capital investment that data centers Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies, and to viewrepresent, with some of the largest costing as much as $1 performance “dashboards” of emissions across the enterprise.billion, a rigorous measurement of the carbon footprint Software-makers envision a time when companies can useand energy consumption is the best way to maximize any such tools to aid with compliance or even to make moneyspending on equipment upgrades or software-as-a-service. through proposed carbon exchange markets.In the last few years, software companies have removedsome of the drudgery from this process with programs that An Integrated Approachhandle much of the routine information-gathering. “Before even quantifying the savings, we have to be able to“The earlier tools were primarily Excel spreadsheets. have a mechanism with which to measure,” says Burle. HeThe amount of data you had to collect and collate was too and other Wipro experts recommend that those interestedtedious,” says Hari Kishan Burle, practice head of Business in “greening” their data centers take a comprehensive,Solutions & Architecture at Wipro. Now many companies integrated approach that considers all elements fromoffer carbon accounting software to help firms identify assessment to implementation.which activities generate the most greenhouse gases. According to Wipro, the key steps in a comprehensive planWhile software features may vary, with customization for should include a strategy and assessment effort, whichdifferent industries, they tend to be based on a common would involve site and equipment analysis, and creation ofset of procedures called the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a “quick-win” road map. Quick wins generally are easy-to-the most widely acknowledged international accounting achieve cost-cutting moves such as putting programmingmethod for inventorying organizational greenhouse gas monitors to “sleep” after a predetermined period ofemissions. The World Resources Institute, an environmental inactivity.think tank, and the World Business Council for SustainableDevelopment, a coalition of 200 businesses, came up with An analysis by the Wharton Computing Brainstorm blog,the protocol in 1998. (The Business Council draws its for instance, showed that the school would save $8,300membership from more than 35 countries. Its U.S.-based annually just by changing monitor settings to enter “sleep”members include 3M, Boeing, General Motors and Oracle.) mode after one hour of inactivity on 500 public computers.Since its inception, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol has That would also avoid the annual production of 122,000become a template for companies that want to account for pounds of carbon emissions.their greenhouse gas emissions. A comprehensive plan should also include return-on-Specialized software can speed up the reporting process, investment modeling, to give an accurate idea of the value ofwhich Burle likens to the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules any savings. In one consultation with a major Indian telecomin the United States in terms of complexity and detail. provider, Wipro says it eventually saved the client 30 million rupees (about $620,000). Cutting Costs with Greener IT | 3
  4. 4. According to Wipro experts, following the assessment those assets and operating environments at substantiallyphase, companies should formulate their green policies, lower cost. Virtualization allows a Mac-equipped designer,develop procedures and metrics, and plan for organizational for example, to run Windows business applications easily;alignment. Implementation can be divided into IT-based it lets IT administrators place multiple virtual serverssolutions (virtualization and consolidation, data center design on one physical server box, thereby saving floor space,and architecture) and solutions not directly IT-related, such energy and maintenance costs. Some estimates suggest thatas data center power and cooling, and power management. virtualization can reduce direct hardware and energy costs“There are two ways of starting, two drivers,” says I. Vijaya by up to 80%.Kumar, Wipro’s chief technology officer. “One is, ‘Can you But virtualization isn’t without drawbacks. Even virtualdo it faster?’ The other is, ‘Can you do it at less cost?’” machines and applications require maintenance, includingIn the software-as-a-service industry, “We see energy critical security patches and functionality updates. Andmanagement as more of a driver than waste management,” the tendency of virtual servers, users and applications toKumar adds. “We also deal with customers’ sustainability proliferate often makes them difficult for administrators togoals,” addressing details as specific as managing air flow in track without proper systems in place. Also, the relative easedata centers. of provisioning virtual resources often leads to the creation of many more items to monitor within the network thanWhile greening the data center offers one of the most existed previously. Physical server sprawl is often replacedobvious areas for reducing IT-related expenses, Wipro by virtual network sprawl. So when it comes time to huntexperts are exploring a range of information and down system-related problems, the IT administrator’scommunication technologies for squeezing out incremental job can be magnified unless the whole process is well-savings. For example, the company takes advantage of, Web- managed. Still, gains are available for those willing to take abased meeting and phone software in lieu of travel, and it comprehensive approach.cites the benefits of dematerialization — moving away fromphysical storage including paper, packaging and even CDs. “It’s fantastic when it works,” says Deirdre Woods, chief information officer at Wharton. Wharton recently upgradedExamples abound of companies that have boosted the to a green data center that Woods describes as “highlybottom line by pursuing IT efficiency in the margins. virtualized.” She adds, though, that the ability to affordFor example, Nortel, the telecommunications firm, talent well-versed in the technology could pose a significanthad more than 150,000 square feet of raised floor space barrier for some organizations, at least for now. “You needin 2003 to accommodate its servers. But by the end of really smart people to run this stuff, and not every business2009, the company says, it will operate with less than half can afford super-smart people.”that amount, saving millions of dollars in real estate, air-conditioning, and uninterruptible power supply costs. Of a less technical nature, organizations may have to work to obtain employee buy-in to reap the benefits of someAnd Nortel estimates it will use 15 million kilowatt hours simpler green-IT solutions. For instance, if it’s customaryless electricity, resulting in an annual savings of about to leave machines, monitors or lighting on after hours and$530,000. weekends, employees will have to be conditioned to adopt more eco-friendly behaviors.Potential Rewards and Challenges Burle says that at Wipro, during one in-house assessment,To be sure, implementing greener IT practices poses “We realized the energy we were using on weekends waschallenges. the same as what we used on weekdays,” simply because it was not yet in the company culture to turn off machines,Take, for instance, the increasingly popular practice of equipment and especially servers when they would be idlevirtualization. This broad term refers to the replacement for lengthy periods.of physical computing assets with software that mimics4 | Cutting Costs with Greener IT
  5. 5. Broadly speaking, IT managers from the CIO on down will responsibility and a commitment to the organization’s long-have to be more conscientious about resource planning and term interests. Worldwide, national and regional standardsheld more accountable for variables that cumulatively add are being drawn up to more tightly regulate not just directto the cost (and carbon footprint) of their IT operations if emissions sources — motor vehicles and power plants —the organization sincerely wants to reduce its environmental but also major energy users that indirectly contribute toimpact. greenhouse gas production.Some of the most productive steps to decrease data centers’ In the U. S., where carbon regulation has historically metcarbon footprints include the following: strong political resistance, Congress was debating whether• Provisioning servers realistically, as opposed to building to pass historic carbon-controlling legislation in the fall for peak resource usage that rarely occurs. IDC estimates of 2009. Meanwhile, the EPA was prepared to declare that average server usage hovers between 5% and 15%. carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gas emissions as• Including energy efficiency and maximized space dangerous pollutants. If the EPA were to adopt its so-called utilization in the criteria when siting data centers. endangerment finding, it could impose federal carbon• Choosing software platforms with the entire organization regulations under the existing Clean Air Act, regardless of in mind, rather than making IT decisions in a silo. whether Congress passed a law.• Considering the carbon footprint ripple effects before For corporate counsel, greener IT offers a way to get buying a server simply for a lower price tag. ahead of pending regulation — before fines or other costsAnd then there’s the question of what to do with an of inaction can affect the company. But Wipro’s Burle saysorganization’s obsolete equipment. Despite IT managers’ taking action has a more immediate financial benefit —best intentions, “e-waste” often winds up in the poorest rooting out profit-robbing wastefulness.areas of developing nations, where workers (and their “Companies will initially do it for compliance,” says Burle.environment) are exposed to toxic fumes and substances “But a higher carbon footprint means inefficiencies.” Wherewhile stripping devices for reusable material. Woods enterprises can identify and streamline those inefficientsays better life-cycle management of IT equipment by processes, opportunities exist to increase profitability.manufacturers is needed before they can truly market their Google, for instance, says that by implementing green ITwares as “green.” practices, its data centers — the heart of its operations —“I think what’s not looked at are real cradle-to-grave costs.” consume about half the electricity of a typical data center.In the United States, at least, “end-of-life” hardware issues The servers that inhabit data centers present many pointscontinue to plague businesses. There’s not much out there for potential waste: the engineering of internal powerfor disposing of “your old stuff,” Woods points out. consumption systems, the need for cooling and the loss thatTo address e-waste, Wharton provides “Technotrash occurs in necessary power conversion.Cans” for students, faculty and staff for disposal of CDs, But Google claims that by optimizing these and othercell phones, PDAs, cables and laptops, all which could elements, it’s able to save $30 per year per server onleak hazardous materials if sent to a landfill. Instead, a costs associated with carbon dioxide emissions, watercommercial electronics recycling firm disposes of the waste consumption and electricity. While $30 might not sound likeresponsibly for a weight-based fee. much, when multiplied by the company’s estimated several hundred thousand servers, it becomes a material savings.Compliance, Cost Savings Non-IT solutions for greening IT merit attention too.On balance, embracing more environmentally sustainable Michael Tomczyk, managing director of the Mack Center forIT practices demonstrates a sense of corporate social Technological Innovation at Wharton, notes that innovative ideas are emerging around making data centers greener. Cutting Costs with Greener IT | 5
  6. 6. “For example, there are data centers being constructed thing,” Woods notes. “There’s a cost perspective. There’sunderground or in hillsides to take advantage of the natural an opportunity cost perspective — we can do more stuffcooling effects, since maintaining the temperature range in because we’re consuming less energy. There’s economica data center is one of the largest power uses,” Tomczyk says. benefit for us.”“California has a ‘Million Solar Rooftops’ initiative. The entire Given the accelerated rate of obsolescence for ITCalifornia office complex at Google — one of the largest IT equipment, and the real energy savings possible with neweroperations in the world — is covered with solar rooftops.” equipment and technologies, IT leaders are increasingly“One day there will be a requirement that all new buildings moving to take advantage of the opportunities.will have to be carbon-neutral, at least in industrialized #nations,” says Tomczyk. In other words, buildings willhave to counterbalance their direct and indirect emissionseither through the purchase of offsets or by producingclean, renewable energy on-site with wind, solar or othertechnologies.“These will require sophisticated information systems tocontrol, monitor, regulate and especially to track the savingsusing both economic and environmental metrics,” Tomczyksays. “The current global movement to sustainable designfor buildings and communities is moving us in the directionof carbon neutrality, but I believe it will take a decade ormore to muster the right combination of political will,technological capabilities and economic formulas to makethis happen on a meaningful scale.”An Inevitable TransitionObviously, any organization considering projects asambitious as a green data center or enterprise-wide carbonfootprint assessment needs to do its homework. Are thevendors likely to be around in a year or so when supportis needed? What kind of reputation does the product have,and is it used by others in your industry or sector? Do thenumbers add up for return on investment, total cost ofownership and other important decision-making metrics,and are they plausible?Woods sees the migration of data centers to greentechnologies as more or less inevitable. “People’s lifeexpectancies for servers are three years, and maybe you caneke out five or six.” Each generation of equipment becomesmore energy efficient, making it “easy to do the right6 | Cutting Costs with Greener IT
  7. 7. This article was produced by Knowledge@Wharton, the online business journalof The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The project wassponsored by Wipro Technologies.www.wipro.comAbout Wipro TechnologiesWipro is the first PCMM Level 5 and SEI CMMi Level 5 certified IT Services Companyglobally. Wipro provides comprehensive IT solutions and services (including systemsintegration, IS outsourcing, package implementation, software application developmentand maintenance) and Research & Development services (hardware and software design,development and implementation) to corporations globally.Wipros unique value proposition is further delivered through our pioneering OffshoreOutsourcing Model and stringent Quality Processes of SEI and Six Sigma.About Wipro Council for Industry ResearchThe Wipro Council for Industry Research, comprised of domain and technology expertsfrom the organization, aims to address the needs of customers by specifically looking atinnovative strategies that will help them gain competitive advantage in the market. TheCouncil, in collaboration with leading academic institutions and industry bodies, studiesmarket trends to equip organizations with insights that facilitate their IT and businessstrategies For more information please visit www.wipro.com/industryresearch Cutting Costs with Greener IT | 7