Going green with IP
V C Gopalratnam, VP, IT and CIO, Globalization, Cisco
As energy costs continue to climb, businesses around the world are looking for new ways to conserve energy and resources. With technologies like 3G coming to play, there would be an explosion of data and companies will be forced to have better networks and data centers that reduce carbon footprint in order to increase their topline and bottomline. This is especially true for the telecom sector, with energy expenses constituting a major chunk of total network operating costs
As they prepare for a future where green regulations are mandatory, green consumers make up a majority, and green IT is a requirement, organizations today envision the network as the basis to connect devices that measure, monitor and manage energy consumption. As a resource that touches everything, the network is suited to bolster these efforts and provide much-needed relief from increasing environmental pressures.
Global IP-based networks facilitate e-commerce, providing virtual environments that use a fraction of the resources of their physical counterparts. Remote network management applications help resolve performance issues from a central monitoring location, removing the need for travel. Collaboration solutions enable meetings and distance learning through audio, web, and video conferencing in a virtual environment and reduce the consumption of carbon-based fuels.
IP networking converge voice and data, and improve bandwidth utilization by eliminating unnecessary duplication required to run separate voice and data networks.This reduces the need for internal resources to maintain disparate networks and applications creating opportunities to increase productivity across organizations, reduce office space requirements and therefore energy consumption.
Deploying Next Generation Networks (NGN) and using IP transmission modes helps organizations to realize large cost savings and significant reductions in emissions. Creating a comprehensive IP-based energy management system that delivers "energy as a service," with the network as the platform helps to monitor and manage energy. Playing to their core strengths and developing cross-platform network-based energy management systems with energy discovery capabilities for devices attached to the network adds to the benefit.
IP Telephony and collaboration
IP telephony provides voice connectivity without additional on-site applications and helps to consolidate existing devices for more energy efficiency. Employees can use their office number, voice mail, and features across several locations and devices. Therefore, a company can provision fewer office spaces, saving on real estate and associated energy consumption.
Voice mail and secure hosted messaging applications provide options for timely and effective communications between employees, suppliers, and customers. Network-based applications like audio, video, web conferencing, and voice over IP (VoIP) enable collaboration on the go.
Using unified communications and collaboration tools, any meeting, anywhere can be just a click away. When extended across an enterprise, unified communications and collaboration capabilities have the potential to transform traditional work and travel habits. By bringing people together through virtual meetings, enterprises can meet with customers, prospects, and team members without ever leaving their desk, office, or home office.
Solutions like Cisco TelePresence and Cisco WebEx enable online collaboration that dramatically reduce a company’s carbon footprint. Using these technologies Cisco has reduced travel for internal meetings by 99 percent. Meetings held using TelePresence have saved the company $385M million in travel costs.
Consolidated Data Centers
Consolidation of servers in data centers helps to save real estate, equipment energy use, carbon emissions, and travel costs. Server virtualization helps to consolidate multiple IT resources, such as operating systems and software applications, onto a single server, reducing both costs and energy usage. Servers and disk drives can be powered down when not needed, then brought back online whenever demands require it. During low points in activity, they can run at reduced speed, which decreases energy consumption. Choosing a server with the best power supply efficiency with the selected configuration improves efficiency.
Solutions like Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) that unite computing, networking, storage access, and virtualization into a cohesive system, reduce power consumption by 33%, and ensure 40% savings on infrastructure. Technologies like Cisco EnergyWise make it possible to monitor and control the energy consumption of networking devices like IP phones, video cameras, and wireless access points. Cisco’s Smart Grids network infrastructure helps utility companies construct “smart grids” that optimize power supply and demand by routing power more efficiently.
Implementing environment conscious design (ECD) guidelines to account for environmental constraints in the product design phase helps minimize material and energy use and maximize reuse and recycling. Use of green Ethernet products manufactured with RoHS (restriction of hazardous substances) compliant materials, and incorporating LEED certifiability give a boost to green initiatives. Sufficient government support, in terms of manufacturing sops and favorable tax regime play an important role in promoting green practices.
Going green is an important business concern that is driving not just good corporate citizens, but also innovations in how the industry approaches technology and processes. Investing in solutions that promote energy restraint and decrease long-term energy demand help to create alternative low-carbon paths for working, living, playing, and learning together.