Catherine Mohr asserts that if you build anything using green material and the energy consumption in the build process exceeds the consumption of a traditional build then you may be fooling yourself. I was thinking about how this applies to the way we manage systems.
In the beginning of our most recent energy crisis, there was a push to replace inefficient servers with highly efficient ones. If the cost of removal, disposal and recycling exceeds the energy savings given by the new servers should it be something to be avoided?
There is no simple answer to this, but I urge businesses to re-examine all elements of their IT delivery before swapping out any hardware. For instance, would it be possible to consolidate 2 similar applications into a single one? Rather than swapping hardware for energy savings you literally have the ability to shut off a server along with the maintenance, software licenses and management that you allocate to it. Can legacy systems be frozen, put in read only mode and be placed on smaller hardware or even consolidated from a few servers down to one?
Catherine Mohr’s presentation makes a lot of sense. It speaks to a concept she calls embodied energy. Her presentation gives some examples but I’ll give one of my own before you watch her video. If building a wind turbine takes 3 years worth of the energy you normally consume when you implement it, this must be figured into the savings of using wind. It’s not enough to calculate the gross energy savings without computing the energy consumption of the inputs used in the new technology.
I think about this quite a bit when we look at the colocation market and the constraints that we face with energy and cooling costs.
Check out here video below.