Cutting carbon through IT virtualisation
Expert comment by Callum Niven, Intercept IT
Energy use in buildings is usually the most significant contributor to law firms’ carbon footprints, with business travel the second largest component. Reducing costs from energy use and business travel are key drivers for strategic and behavioural change. Reducing emissions from business travel is particularly challenging as firms expand internationally and it is important that members establish robust mechanisms to manage their travel patterns.
Cloud computing, virtualisation and voice collaboration platforms provide law firms a unique opportunity to reduce carbon emissions from energy use and business travel.
Virtualisation in computing, is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as a hardware platform, operating system, a storage device or network resources. Virtualisation allows legal firms to consolidate their servers by as much as 15:1, an impressive number.
Once virtualised, servers can be optimized even further. For example, a virtualised server can be programmed to intelligently power-off unneeded physical servers, without impacting applications and users. Virtualisation dramatically reduces energy costs and consumption by as much as 70-80%, without sacrificing reliability or service levels.
Cloud computing and video
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network (typically the Internet). Cloud computing provides law firms with another opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions for example deliver all an organisation’s application and data needs via the cloud paving the way for greener IT delivery. With DaaS all of the firm’s servers are hosted in data centres, eliminating onsite servers and data centres.
Typical PC’s have power supplies of 250-400 watts or 180kw-288kw of power per month. Thin Client devices (computers without local server hardware) range in power consumption from 50-65 watts or 36kw-47kw per month, equating to a 73-88% power savings when accessing DaaS. Thin-client and DaaS technology not only cut the amount of power consumed, but also reduce the volume of physical hardware and software produced and shipped, as well as increasing user mobility, reducing the need for carbon producing commutes.
Finally, a voice collaboration platform delivering video conferencing can further help to reduce carbon emissions from business travel. Promotion of remote working using video collaborating platforms typically eliminates carbon emissions of 1.35kg of CO2 per person per day for an average Greater London journey.
Ian Lauwerys, Global IT Director at Kennedys said: “Over the previous year, increasing energy prices had doubled our data centre costs, primarily driven by power and cooling requirements. By virtualising the data centre, we cut one of our biggest expenses by about £150,000 per year”.
Callum Niven, is Senior Partner Manager at Intercept IT
For further visit www.intercept-it.com