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Part 2: How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?!?!

Last week I introduced this topic, the pervasive problem of “comatose” servers in data centers, based upon an interesting recent eWeek article entitled “30 Percent of Servers Worldwide Sit Idle”, which in turn was based upon the research report by Stanford University in conjunction with the Anthesis Group.  In my blog, I described the costs of this problem, ranging from the obvious (e.g. power and facilities) to the hidden (e.g. un-used software licenses).  This week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you can do about this problem.

The Problem of Idle Servers - What Can You Do About It

The Problem of Idle Servers – What Can You Do About It

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How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?! (Part 1)

In my role in Cisco Services, I’m more interested in the challenges of technology adoption and deployment than I am in speeds and feeds, statistics and technology fads.  I actively seek out case studies where technology goes wrong – admittedly most of these examples turn out to be issues around introducing and managing the technology, rather than the technology itself.  So I have to admit, I was fascinated by a recent  eWeek article (full details below) which discussed the huge proportion – the report uncovers evidence of up to 30%!! – of (physical) servers in enterprise data centers that are typically running doing nothing!!  Yes – up to 30% – even in these days of virtualization!

 

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

Yes, even in your data center, it’s probably a safe bet to say that you have some servers that are not doing that much information processing today!  In this part 1 of my blog, I’ll discuss the costs – obvious and hidden – of the idle server challenge.  And next week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you could and indeed should do about it!

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Sustainability Up on the Roof

When most people think about sustainability at a company like Cisco, they envision solar arrays and smart cities – and we certainly have those! But humming quietly on the roof of every building is a significant energy consumer, the air conditioning.  So just as we innovate solutions for the Internet of Everything, we also search for ways to improve facility energy efficiency in many ways that aren’t obvious to building occupants.

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Cisco Takes Holistic Approach to Reducing Energy Use and Costs

Cisco’s EnergyOps team is tasked with reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency at our offices, labs, and data centers worldwide. Cisco’s labs are our largest consumer of energy and although we are putting a lot of effort into improving the efficiency of those environments, we’re finding great success in taking a more holistic approach that includes implementing efficiency opportunities within all of our building support systems such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), building controls, and lighting.

For example, in January 2014 we engaged in such a holistic energy efficiency effort at a number of our Shanghai facilities, which included three primary areas of improvement:

  • Computer room air conditioning (CRAC) unit retrofits
  • Software upgrades for cooling equipment
  • Lighting upgrades for offices

In just 3 months, 5 buildings at our Shanghai location underwent energy efficiency upgrades in these areas that will generate approximately US$145,000 in savings per year.

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Cisco’s Other Production Data Center

If sibling rivalry exists among Data Centers, our Richardson, Texas facility must be jealous.  Unveiled in 2007 as Cisco’s next-generation Data Center and subsequently toured by thousands of visitors, the site hasn’t received much attention since its younger brother came online in 2011. Read More »

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