Going Green: How Softchoice is making an impact on the environment

Going Green: How Softchoice is making an impact on the environment

To help reduce their carbon footprint, search-engine giant Google decided to scrap their lawn mowers and rent goats to munch on their lawns instead. Not only are these goats much more environmentally-friendly than lawn mowers, but as Google puts it, “goats are a lot cuter to watch!”

Softchoice hasn’t yet progressed to renting goats to do our landscaping, but we’re doing our part to take care of the environment with some other green initiatives. Being a technology provider, we know it’s important to look at how we can become more conscious of implementing more environmentally-aware practices when it comes to technology – after all, the IT industry produces the same carbon emissions as the airline industry, approximately 1 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year. While we may be excited about the technology advances we’ve seen recently (i.e. iPads, Google Maps, social media outlets), we have to be conscious of the amount of energy it takes to run the servers and infrastructure that support these tools.

Of course, while data centers can be obvious energy gorgers, there are ways that IT companies can run their centers to help reduce their carbon footprint. To find out how Softchoice is making our data center greener, I sat down with Softchoice IT Infrastructure Manager Lester Moniz. Lester explained the top 3 green IT initiatives that Softchoice has been focusing on recently: [Read more…]

PUE Calculator Update

In a previous post  I talked about the project I was going to take on to find out PUE number.  Well it turns out that it wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought it was going to be.  Softchoice’s main data center is managed out of a co-location, so no matter how much power and cooling we actually use, we are still going to pay for a specific amount.  It sounds like unless we can consolidate enough to remove an entire rack of equipment, our price and power won’t change.

We also have a smaller back up data center in our Toronto office as well.  So again I worked with a very nice person in our IT department who took the time out to talk to me again.  Unfortunately I got the same answer out of him.  Our Toronto office is on a monthly plan with our power company that allows us to pay the same amount every month regardless of what we use. 

Now I am kind of stuck for ideas.  Even if we measure and find our PUE number there isn’t anything we can do about it.  Has anyone else run into this yet?  We have consolidated on the newest equipment in the industry already so I don’t think we can shrink our data center footprints any further.  But now what?

Don’t miss out on a gift to green your data center

Data center efficiency projects such as virtualization, consolidation, power and cooling upgrades all have pretty strong business cases and ROI. The reduction in hardware means lower operating and managing costs for your organization.

Many utilities are now sweetening the deal and offering rebates and incentives that put an extra bang into your business case.  Some of these rebates are paid out per kilowatt hour saved (usually 5 – 11cents per kw) and others are a percentage of the overall project costs (anywhere from 35 – 50% of your project cost paid for) [Read more…]

PUE Calculator

The Power Usage Effectiveness Estimator or PUE Calculator is a tool that we are going to attempt to use here at Softchoice.  This tool will give us a numbered result that we can work into our reports at the end of the year and compare against future years to see how effectively we are using our power.  I will post more as I learn about this tool and make sure to detail the best ways to use it.  So far the most challenging part is getting a member of our IT team to sit down and help me out!  Check out the tool and let me know if you have used it before or have any quicker results.


Facebook listens to their friends

Facebook has taken recent criticism seriously about their energy consumption. They have joined their IT cohorts to do the right thing  and have cleared the air in their data center by using fans to create better airflow management as well as containing this cold air to keep it escaping in the floors. This makes their systems more efficient and dramatically cuts the amount of energy they are using.

What we did here isn’t rocket science,” said Jay Park, Facebook’s director of data center engineering. “We applied very basic thermal theory.” He was on a panel discussing…read more.

Frozen energy cost make an greener data center

A data center in Phoenix has found a way to “freeze” their data center costs – using ice balls. The Ice  Ball Thermal Storage System may be the coolest technology to hit the market…literally!

The ice balls are water filled, dimpled plastic spheres a little bigger than a softball. The balls float in four huge tanks filled with a glycol solution that chills the balls by night and pumps the cool air into the data center by day. This shifts the energy consumption from day to night allowing the utility generators to run more efficiently.

You might wonder why anyone would have a data center in on of the hottest places in the US. There are benefits to the hot, dry desert climate. For example, it lends itself to energy evaporative cooling technology when the temperatures at night dip down low.

That’s not all. This company has found a way to beat the Phoenix heat in other ingenious ways – reducing their energy use and taking advantage of the innovation new ways to be green. Read more…http://features.techworld.com/data-centre/3244249/ice-balls-help-data-centre-go-green/