Garden State Goes for Green IT

New Jersey IT managers are going green to save green, but they want to see fast ROIs

May 9, 2008

3 Min Read
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TRENTON, N.J. -- It is harsh economic reality more than environmentalism that is pushing green IT forward, according to users attending the New Jersey Digital Government Summit here today.

The driving force behind green IT is an economic one,” explained Judith Chorba, a manager in the state of New Jersey’s central office of IT, during a panel discussion this afternoon.

The official explained that power costs, in particular, have spiraled out of control, making green IT much more economically viable for the Garden State. “When we get more servers and we try to add more stuff to our data centers, we are out of power.”

With New Jersey also wrestling with statewide budget issues, Chorba and her team are starting to use virtualization, as well as looking at deduplication and thin provisioning to cut power costs.

“We’re very aware of the energy we consume to run state systems,” she added, explaining that the state’s newest data center in Hamilton Township is being fitted with energy efficient features to reduce hardware sprawl and power consumption.Another local government IT manager attending the event, who asked not to be named, nonetheless urged vendors to demonstrate a swift ROI from green IT technologies.

“That’s quite a problem when we have got rigid budget cycles,” he said, explaining that state budgets are typically run on much shorter time frames than in the corporate world. “Ideally we would like to prove the ROI within a one-year timeframe.”

HDS CTO Hu Yoshida, who took part in the panel discussion, admitted that there is more education to be done around green IT, but argued that it should be possible to get a one-year ROI on green IT projects.

The exec also held up his firm’s recently-announced data center in Yokohama, Japan as a potential model for others to follow.

The vendor is already touting the 10,782-square-meter wing on parent company Hitachi’s 387,459-square-meter Yokohama facility as the world’s “greenest” data center, thanks partly to water-cooled racks and "supermorphous" power supply converters, although Yoshida also pushed the benefits of virtualization and thin provisioning at today’s event.“Virtualization is one of the best tools for doing consolidation, whether it’s server, storage, or networking,” he said. “Storage is maybe 20 to 30 percent utilized; with virtualization and thin provisioning, you can improve that.”

Other vendors were also playing up the green benefits of virtualization today, with Sun offering up an example of a fast ROI in one of its own facilities.

“We’re working on the greening of our own data centers,” said Bill Pilarski, practice manager of Sun America’s virtualization team during a presentation, explaining that the vendor has already consolidates three Bay Area data centers into one state-of-the art facility. “It got us down to about half of the servers and about a third of the storage.”

The exec explained that the consolidation project helped shave 60 percent off Sun’s power costs in the Bay Area, saving $860,000 in nine months.

Sun, which is in the throes of a major global data center consolidation effort, also overhauled its data center management structure in an attempt to make its energy costs more transparent.“The ownership for the power bill usually resides with facilities, not the data center, so the IT organization often has no idea how much power is being consumed and how much it is costing them,” Pilarski said, explaining that Sun has tried to solve this problem by marrying its facilities and IT teams into a central group.

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  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • Sun Microsystems Inc.

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