With significant Eskom increases now an annual event, companies are looking for ways to save on power bills that go beyond just having a “lights off” policy.
Andrea Lodolo, technical operations manager at CA Southern Africa, points out that there is more involved in achieving real savings on power than most people realise.
“Things are getting in the way of making real and sustainable savings,” he says. “People still think we have cheap rates by global standards, but that is not correct. Companies very seldom have a specific person in charge of these issues and department managers don’t have time to take ownership of these types of savings initiatives. Lastly, people fail to take all the factors into account.
“Achieving real savings that are ongoing and do not burden the business in other ways requires a truly holistic approach and the management tools and technologies to support policies that are put in place.”
“Companies need to focus on the realities. Over the next couple of years, power costs will basically double. Alongside that, South Africa has one of the highest per-capita carbon footprints in the world, not to mention the highest in the southern hemisphere.
“It makes sense to have a programme in place to save on those costs and become a green operation. However, the right IT management software is essential in order to make this happen and get results that are verifiable.
“Virtualisation means your servers are working harder,” says Lodolo. “So are the cooling systems that keep them running. You might save by shutting down some systems after hours but you can’t even plan this without the management tools in place that allow you to see what the usages are.
“CA has had great success internationally with two products,” says Lodolo. “The first, ecoMeter, allows an organisation to monitor power usage on individual circuits. Instead of just a global figure, you can see what the servers, cooling systems, building systems and desktops are using.
“Going one step further, there is ecoGovernance, which is an on-demand service provided on a SaaS basis that allows an organisation to project manage all its green initiatives and measure the results.
“What companies need to look at is more efficient use of their equipment. Merely adding virtualisation is not necessarily the answer in itself. In fact it could lead to virtual server sprawl and chaos if not managed effectively. Tools that provision and de-provision servers and have the capability of shutting down unused hardware when not required is a much more efficient way to handle this.”
With the current emphasis on virtualisation, customers think they are getting a “free ride” but, unless all factors are taken into account, this might not be the case.