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Cisco EnergyWise – An Overview from the Developers

There has been a core team of, well…energy savvy (sorry but just couldn’t do the pun again) engineers here at Cisco that have brought EnergyWise to fruition. As a company we’ve been approaching Green across many fronts including reducing our own carbon footprint as a user, developing virtualization and collaboration technologies and investing in Advanced (professional) Services to aid in the deployment of energy efficiency initiatives. To date all of our approaches have been dependent on measuring and analyzing Wattage and the C02 that correlates. For example, I might tell you that you can anticipate a 10-20% improvement in operative efficiency by embracing Cisco technologies across your enterprise but I have always had to rely on best estimates for an actual ROI.Cisco EnergyWise has fundamentally changed that approach. Now, rather than approach a particular project with a theoretical efficiency benchmark we can opt to instrument an operation to get real figures and in real time. Because of the way some equipment reports there will still be some minor mathematical normalization needed to account for the variance between nameplate and nominal draw. However, this is a fairly easy correction as the rule of thumb from the facilities world is to simply take 30% of the top of any nameplate figure. We’ve also developed a Product Efficiency Calculator as part of the Efficiency Assurance Program to simplify this process for any Cisco equipment. Whatever tools you use the process is fairly straightforward, you must first establish benchmarks before you can estimate the value that a particular vendor provided Green solution might bring.With the process of monetizing Green considered, EnergyWise is the keystone of our approach in that it not only aids in providing an upfront benchmark through discovery and measurement but sets the foundation for real time, enterprise-wide energy management. Since this intelligence resides within the network you can now get away from being locked into a silo’d approach to energy management, using a proprietary approach that only looks at a single class of equipment. This basically opens up your IT organization and specifically your Network Managers to start delivering Energy as a service.Matt Laherty took EnergyWise from a POE feature set in its initial inception to a full blown energy management solution for the entire enterprise. This is a great video run through of the thinking behind this approach. As you will see Matt isn’t just looking at the consumption side of things but also points out how our approach marries up well with a Smart Grid world. This provides a great “big picture” run through of EnergyWise.In addition to Matt’s overview we’ve also had some fun implementing EnergWise in our own labs and our Network Engineers for the first time are experiencing the power of what I like to call a “God-App” in that you can now control energy at scale. I think you can tell by the smiles that John, Tirth and crew have had fun implementing and testing this solution. We highly advise being careful about the power tricks you might play with coworkers -- confined to lab environments = ).Now that the core code is done we are working in earnest to streamline our interface, integrate Richards-Zeta mediation and extend the EnergyWise code to the many applicable Cisco products in our portfolio. As Matt mentions in his video we are also working with large large utility providers to ensure EnergyWise is conversant, nae fluent with the Smart Grid. Hopefully this shows the writing on the wall of where energy and Green IT are heading in the very near future.I personally am very excited about seeing IT provide the first major breakthrough in broadly monetizing the value of Green from an energy standpoint. As this gets adopted and improved based on customer feedback I think we will see some major changes in not just how people manage the business but in how people use IT. Imagine if we can make it transparent to the average surfer the environmental impacts of their web activity? How would that change your internet behavior?Food for thought, thanks for reading.

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  1. This comment is a little off topic but it still is representative of the stupid attitude towards going green. If I order a license key for something like an IOS upgrade for a router, or extra Call-Manager license, then Cisco will ship me a sealed envelope with the serial number on the outside. Inside will be a sheet of four-color printed paper with no purpose at all. All I need is the serial number. So Cisco must print, package, store and then finally ship thousands of envelopes that people read a single number off and then throw away. Think of the wasted resources, energy and effort that go into this. Obviously this could be emailed to me or retrieved from a website. It should never have to exist in anything other than an electronic form. If Cisco tackled this kind of idiocy then I would be less skeptical of their green initiatives.


  2. Rob Aldrich

    Hi Gavin,Sorry to hear you are skeptical and in the spirit of maintaining a positive mindset, let me say we are working on it. We have a several teams across Cisco all working on different elements of Green. Product distribution, supply chain and product take back all under review. As you can imagine with roughly 70,000 SKU’s that Cisco maintains, this takes time. I’ve forwarded your comment to our product distribution and packaging team.Hopefully this packaging issue doesn’t distract you from the potential active energy management can bring. This really is a big deal and has broad reaching implications.Lets keep positive about getting Green and pick our battles with the right prioritization.Thanks.