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Decommissioning Ghost Servers

Uptime Institute recently celebrated the winners of their third annual Server Roundup contest. The contest was launched to spotlight the amount of resources that can be recovered and the amount of waste reduced by decommissioning outdated and underutilized servers. While the results are impressive, the process for identifying these servers was difficult and labor intensive.

2013 Winners:

  • Barclay’s decommissioned 9,124 servers, resulting in savings of 2.5 MWh of energy ($4.5M in power costs), roughly 5,000 Tons of carbon emissions, and $1.3M in legacy hardware maintenance costs, and reclamation of 588 server racks.
  • Sun Life Financial decommissioned 441 servers, resulting in savings of 115 kWh of energy ($100,000 in power costs), roughly 330 Tons of carbon emissions, and reclamation of valuable space in the data center.

All of the 2013 winners finalists shared that they decommissioned between 10% and 40% of their initial servers, and expressed the same sentiments: The cheapest data center is the one you never build. Decommissioning obsolete servers is “free Money”. Make the best use of your space by getting rid of stuff that isn’t being used.

When the 2013 winners were asked what software they used to identify the decommissioned servers, responses varied from tracking via excel spreadsheets and SMDB databases, to polling servers’ back end data with DCIM, to hiring college students to conduct a 3 to 4 month manual Book to Floor audit, then another several months to manually map the applications to the servers using them.

The pain of these outdated and expensive manual processes is what Cisco EnergyWise Suite alleviates for our customers. To anyone who has experienced Cisco EnergyWise Manager, it’s difficult to fathom going back to a system that takes months to implement and execute, and with such a high cost in man hours associated with it.

I applaud all of the hard work and great results these companies have achieved, but imagine how much more efficient they could be if they were leveraging Cisco EnergyWise Suite’s ability to deploy in a matter of hours and:

  • Automatically discover every device that it attached to the network in real time
  • Gain visibility into the energy consumption and utilization of 100% of the devices in the data center
  • Identify energy-inefficient devices
  • Monitor, measure, and manage the energy used by their network-connected devices, regardless of device type or manufacturer
  • Optimize virtualized and cloud computing environments
  • Create policies that automatically and remotely manage power for network-connected devices to cut energy costs

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Cisco Recognized by Uptime Institute for Lab Energy Management

Cisco has won the prestigious 2013 Uptime Institute 2013 Green Enterprise IT AwardTM (GEIT) in the Green Digital Infrastructure Strategy category. Uptime Institute grants GEIT Awards each year to companies that significantly improve energy productivity and resource use in IT.

A cross-functional team at Cisco that included lab management, engineering, IT, and workplace resources won for our LabEnergy Management program—an internal, worldwide, energy-conservation program that is reducing electricity consumption in our labs. Although representing only 10 percent of our real estate footprint, our labs consume more than 60 percent of our electricity and are critical to the success of our engineering, service, and sales organizations.

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Cisco’s LabEnergy Management program addresses three improvement opportunities:

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6 Essential Data Center White Papers

November 30, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

I spoke at my son’s school for Career Day a couple of years ago.  I talked about my time as a newspaper reporter and basic news writing principles such as the five Ws, attribution and the inverted pyramid.  There’s a chance I’ll return this year to talk about being a Data Center manager, which has me pondering what Data Center basics to cover.

If you had to explain Data Center fundamentals to a newcomer, what would you talk about?  Availability?  Power density?  The fact that everything people do online is enabled by a Data Center somewhere?

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