Monthly Archives: July 2011

Making the Case for Green IT!

Green IT is so easy, even a caveman can do it!

Every time someone asks me what I do, I tell them, “I’m the Green IT Guy and I help companies and organizations become energy efficient from the desktop to the data center, from hardware to software, from the network to the virtual cloud.”  It took me a while to articulate that.  For some reason energy efficient computing was not hitting the mark.  Sometimes you have to repeat yourself over and over again.  IT professionals would snicker and say stuff like, “Isn’t the Internet already Green because it is paperless, and online?”  This illustrates how far the industry has gone from the last couple of years.  Now Green IT is a little more digestible.  Others would say, “That’s just Green Washing, Marketing Hype!”  If I can walk into any organization and cut their energy usage, carbon output, and IT expense in half, I don’t see how that could be considered green washing or marketing hype.

I’m going to try to make a case for Green IT to dispel any lingering myths.  Industry changes have occurred resulting in Green Regulations such as: Federal mandates (E.O. 13415 , GSA Green Products Compilation), corporate standards (Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Wal-Mart Sustainability Index), state legislation (City of Riverside), and future carbon accounting regulations.  Companies have gone from voluntary to mandatory regulations.  Investors were a minority, now they have a few sustainability indexes.  IT departments once considered Green IT a niche, and now see it as a core part of their business, as they rapidly consolidate their data centers.  Finally, upper management is tying the electric bill to the performance evaluation of the CIO, and that’s a good thing.

 

 

UPS’s package software eliminated left-hand turns to save $8.4M in gas and 32K tons of CO2 emissions, according to Forrester Research.  Sprint ($40B US Telco) achieved dramatic results in just 1 year:

  • They retired 127 applications
  • Decommissioned 2,200 servers
  • Reclaimed 290,000 GB of storage
  • Eliminated 75% of printer output
  • Saved $20M in annual IT operating expense
  • And cut 10,000mt of GHG emissions

It’s no secret that main stream America is virtualizing their data centers.  There are some very big companies and federal organizations consolidating data centers. In fact, the federal government illustrates their goals online.  They plan to consolidate 800 data centers worldwide, both physical and virtual.  The GSA saved $50/PC/year by shutting down PCs during non-business hours.  The City of Palo Alto cut carbon footprint by 5% in one year.  Here are some companies that have joined the ranks of data center consolidation:

  • Amway Global
  • Boise
  • Charlotte County
  • Children’s Hospital Central California
  • Chino Unified School District
  • City of Boston
  • City of Chicago
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Defense Contract Management Agency
  • Department of Energy
  • FICO
  • Florida Department of Transportation

I could go on and on about data center consolidation, but there are too many examples. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, data center consolidation has gone main stream. But just in case you have, go to VMware’s case studies.  What about Sun’s Openwork program saves 100 hours/year for each of 18,000 employees?  This openwork program is a telework program.  Employees working from home so they do not pollute the highways.  What about handheld devices?  UPS avoids $12M per year in capital expenses using handheld devices for package tracking.  Can Green IT strengthen the supply chain? I think so.  Tablet devices are moving into hospitals.  No more wall mounted PC’s.

What I really wanted to say is this: Green IT is a good deal. You should consider it and make your company look good, efficient, and socially responsible.  It only takes four simple steps:

  1. Assess your situation from top to bottom. (Enterprise, Printers, Desktops, Data Centers)
  2. Execute a Green IT Action Plan
  3. Realize a greater than 50% reduction in cost, energy consumption, and carbon output.
  4. Brag about it through press releases, blogs, and social media. (Ask me how.)

The next thing you know, your company will be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.  You came, you conquered, and you lived to tell about it.

 

The Evolution of Green Printing


Printing is a huge environmental hazard resulting in exorbitant paper usage to the toxic production and usage of toner.  Any way you slice it, printing is a total environmental waste.  According to a survey of environmental pet peeves among over 1,569 adult U.S. and Canadian office workers by Harris Interactive, here are the top ten:

  1. Mindless printing resulting in increased waste (40%)
  2. Leaving lights on (37%)
  3. Lack of recycling bins (33%)
  4. Excessive air conditioning in summer and heat in winter (29%)
  5. Excessive use of paper products, like cups, plates, etc. (27%)
  6. Coworkers not recycling (27%)
  7. Cowrorkers not printing double-sided when they can (24%)
  8. Too many cover sheets when faxing or printing (24%)
  9. Having to store paper copies of existing, electronic files (24%)
  10. Leaving computer on and not powering down when going home (23%)

As far as printing goes, I would try to eliminate the whole process.  But that’s not going to happen, right?  If we had some other medium to convey thoughts and ideas, I would be all for it, but the reality is we still must print, and in some cases, we still must fax.  So let’s try to do it better.

Century Gothic Font

I chose to write this article with Century Gothic because it is the most effective font for saving toner ink, thus it is environmentally friendly.  Unfortunately, when I copy/paste from my Word document, WordPress is going to change the font for me.  According to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Century Gothic uses much less ink, saving money on printer ink.  They reportedly switched their default e-mail and printing font from Arial to Century Gothic because it uses about 30% less ink.  Century Gothic font is the low lying fruit for green printing because it is virtually free.  Change your settings.

 Ecofont Software

Ecofont Software prints green fonts with holes to save in toner and reduce printing costs.  Ecofont Software adds a print button to your toolbar.  With just one click of the mouse you can save up to 50% toner when printing text. Ecofont Software is compatible with all printers, copier and multifunctionals from Brother, Canon, Dell, Develop, Epson, HP, Konica-Minolta, Kyocera, Lexmark, Muratec, Océ, OKI Data, Ricoh, Samsung, Sharp, Tally Genicom, Toshiba, Xerox, etc.  Keep in mind that there is an economic driver in the print management business, especially the pay per page strategy or pay per cartridge strategy.  Some vendors may tell you that Ecofont software is not compatible with their equipment just to maintain profit levels with toner cartridges.

I think the Ecofont Software is very innovative, but why should I pay for it?  Century Gothic is free.  The last time I checked, free is still a good price.

GreenPrint Software

GreenPrint Enterprise provides a best-in-class software solutions to eliminate unnecessary cost and waste associated with enterprise and individual printing activities.  GreenPrint Enterprise product increases profitability and sustainability by providing employees with an innovative interface that allows them to eliminate pages, images and selected content from print jobs before they are sent to the printer.  This simple yet powerful exercise reduces organizational print volume by 17% to 25% and saves an average of $80 to $120 per employee per year, which is validated by GreenPrint’s robust data collection and reporting mechanism.

GreenPrint’s ability to allow me to delete unnecessary blank pages and images does save on paper, but I need more savings and control.

PretonSaver Software

PretonSaver Enterprise can save as much as 70% on your existing printing costs without compromising on quality.  In these troubled times, businesses are constantly looking for ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, these cuts are usually painful, as they require some kind of concession.  But, what if you could save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year without compromising anything?

Watch the Video!

Leave it to the Israeli’s to come up with such an awesome software product, with print management capabilities.  To write an algorithm that manipulates and eliminates pixels is pure genius in my book.  To save up to 70% on toner usage is even more fantastic.  Imagine being able to enforce print protocols that eliminate Internet printing?  I use to see sports sections in the men’s bathroom, which were printed from the Internet. Imagine using default settings for duplex printing, or restricting certain groups or individuals from color printing.  Imagine cutting your toner budget in half.  Between PC Power Management and PretonSaver Software, I think every company in the world needs to invest in these cost cutting measures that definitely contribute to the triple bottom line.

So, to all you large enterprise organizations printing copies multiple times without collaborating in an electronic portal, start Green Printing!

Disruptive Clouds: Imagine a world where IT was treated like a utility service.

First, just let me say I was never one to get caught up in the hype-cycle of cloud computing because I’m old school.  We called it network services in the early 90’s, then it became managed services by the late 90’s, then it became Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and soon on and so forth. Now we are calling the same monthly billing for IT services the cloud.  Let’s compare Cloud Computing to heating and air conditioning.  We pay a monthly bill for services rendered. We never touch the water heater or the air conditioner, unless you’re like me that has an ex-father-in-law that would talk you through it. Beyond that, we just pay the bill and expect not to freeze or overheat.  It gives us more time to live our lives. Trust me, I have better things to do than wonder if I’m going to blow myself up lighting the pilot light.

Well, in theory, cloud computing should free us up to concentrate on doing our business.  Imagine how we have traditionally run IT over the last two decades.  We started out simple with a network administrator who made sure that our network inside the office was working with 10mb ethernet.  Then along comes the internet spawning the need for expertise in Email systems, database systems, web development, legacy migrations, etc.  The basic office had at least for servers running: network server, email server, web server, and database server.  As technology changed the skillsets changed, which meant more manpower expense.  Imagine needing to pay six figure salaries for at least 4 high priced individuals to run IT?  That is what we did yesterday and that is what we do today.  Well the cloud can easily disrupt that.

A small to medium size business must trust these highly trained individuals to be on staff because if they screw anything up, there is no SLA for screw ups with employees. You just fire them and pay the cost to replace them.  The problem with IT is that it could cost thousands for screw ups.  According to Salary.com the average median chief information officer (CIO) salary in Herndon, VA is $246,000, the average chief information security officer (CISO) is $177,000.  Now already your budget is strained by $423,000, and I haven’t added the storage technician, software development, virtualization experts, etc.  With just two c-level executives in IT, you have to budget $35,250 per month, not including software and hardware expenses.  If you think the CIO is going to get their hands dirty, you’re sadly mistaken. They are administrators, they administer. That means they delegate to some other high priced IT staffer.

Let’s say this small company has 100 employees, using MS Office, MS Dynamics CRM, and Outlook.  Imagine a cloud provider like, Ecomnets or Rackspace, hosts all the computers and applications for $100/seat.  The IT budget quickly becomes $10,000 per month.  The difference is, you saved two thirds moving to the cloud, and now you can eliminate unnecessary staff or re-purpose them for more strategic projects.  No more computer refreshes.  No more service outages. If there are any, at least you get compensated for it. Gotta love service level agreements (SLAs).  If you own it and it breaks, you have to replace it out of your own pocket.  The TCO is staggering when you really look at cloud computing.  I don’t know about you, but I got better things to do than worry about break-fix maintenance, and anti-virus and malware issues.  I want to focus on more strategic things concerning Green IT.