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Green Switching – Spotting the Red Herring, Understanding the Real Impact

What makes a switch – or any other networking device for that matter – green? Wiktionary defines a red herring as “A clue that is misleading or that has been falsified, intended to divert attention.” In a recent Fact or Fiction session, Marie Hattar, Vice President — Network Systems and Security at Cisco Systems, draws the comparison between green switches and red herrings. The assertion she makes is this… Without a complete understanding of the full story — and true clues — relating to switching and Green, your switch of choice could very well turn from green to red. So how do you go about determining if a switch is indeed green? And how do you determine how green one switch is compared to another? Read More »

Finding the right ‘green governance’ structure

While more businesses are setting up board level governance structures to drive forward sustainability initiatives, it is becoming clearer that the CIO has a key role to play in connecting strategic objectives with operational practice, and in fostering a ‘bottom-up’ green innovation culture to complement ‘top-down’ sustainability goals. Emerging centres of green leadership are as varied as the energy challenges of the businesses they serve. With more organisations setting up green teams and task-forces, environmental programmes are no longer boxed in to corporate social responsibility or marketing departments. They have sent out new tendrils to other parts of the business. For global firms, there may now be a thriving seedbed of hundreds or even thousands of potential green ideas.This creative input needs to be marshalled and organised to give it shape and make it work, and new applications can then be scaled up quickly, from simple prototypes developed in-house to sophisticated bought-in software. The task might involve using ‘wikis’ and online forums to enable staff in different functional or geographic areas to publish, develop and refine new ideas. Or it could mean deploying and promoting other collaborative technologies, such as WebEx and video conferencing, to support well-defined cross-departmental initiatives.The model also requires a strong, central steering group at board level, with the power to shape budgets, resolve cross-departmental dependencies, and intervene at key decision points to align ‘bottom-up’ initiatives with strategic policy. The CIO needs to be active in both areas: helping the board turn sustainability strategy into realistic road maps and enabling new ideas.

Green Your Collar – Techwise TV Episode 42 – EnergyWise

Stay tuned for this Thursdays episode of Techwise TV. I love their tagline “technology you can understand from geeks you can trust”. Let me tell you first hand this is true. Some background on how this show evolved I think is worth a post. So we had recently done TWTV episode 36 on our solutions in the Data Center that improve energy efficiency and whether I like it or not I’ve been branded as the “Green” guy here so immediately the red flags went up from the shows head geek Jimmy Ray Purser. His background is in systems engineering so he has developed the valuable skill set in that line of work of weeding through the marketing quickly. A funny post from Jimmy on his thoughts here.I was able to get Jimmy on board for episode 36 but then just a few episodes later we came back with another “Green” solution, Cisco EnergyWise. Again, it was a tough sell to Jimmy but we brought him around. Robb and Valeire on the show were slightly easier. Basically how I did it was by pointing out some simple facts that show the relevance of energy management:1) Energy is far and away the largest unmanaged cost of any business today2) Energy costs (the kind for wall outlet electricity) have almost doubled in the last 4 years3) Many analysts project that energy costs will soon become the first or second largest cost for large enterprises4) We are anticipating a 20% reduction (absolute) the first year we deploy EnergyWise (we paid $150M USD last year for energy)5) Cisco EnergyWise is part of IOS and is based on a cloud approach to energy managementThat and the fact we rarely even use the term Green in any of our technical discussions, opting for sustainability at the highest level and quickly jumping to energy and the emissions that correlate. Not to mention the possibiity of real regulations around energy use and the efficiency thereof are closer than they’ve been since the Carter administration. So make sure to check this episode out to get the straight scoop on EnergyWise with Jimmy beating us up for you. We also have John Parello on the show who created the core code for it and he talks through how this is based on a cloud approach.For our beloved network managers out there the good news is that we have also simplified the larger network management approach in this version of IOS. In the new approach we allow for tagging of assets in order to establish energy domains. We also provide for criticality levels and different power states to be assigned which ensures the approaches viability for data center operations. Read More »

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. Read More »

Networkers Barcelona Sparks Good Green Energy

Viva España! What a thrill it was to see the excitement generated by the EnergyWise launch in Barcelona at Networkers, our European users’ group conference. In the keynote, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers showcased the savings you can realize with this technology during his main stage demo. And from there, the buzz never stopped. The press conference was standing-room-only, followed by a customer panel, where again we had a full house. As I mentioned in my last blog, it’s no longer a tough choice between what’s good for the business or what’s good for the environment. This new Catalyst® Switch technology that we introduced enables businesses to measure, report, and regulate energy usage across IT and non-IT equipment. And, it has people not only excited, but thinking about the possibilities. Read More »