Posted by Jeannette Beltran | Posted in Data center consolidation, Data center energy efficiency, Uptime Institute Symposium, Uptime Symposium | Posted on 06-08-2012
The Uptime Institute Server Roundup contest was introduced in October 2011 to encourage the removal and recycling of obsolete IT equipment in an effort to decrease data center energy use. Last year’s first place winner, AOL, rounded up close to 10,000 servers and saved its organization over $5 million. An overview of AOL’s submission and cost savings can be found here.
Decommissioning a single 1U rack server can result in a savings of $500 per year in energy costs, an additional $500 in operating system licenses, and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs.
“This contest is designed to engage the IT community to get serious about asset utilization and energy efficiency,” said Matt Stansberry, Director of Content and Publications, Uptime Institute.
The 2012 Server Roundup Contest is open from Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2012. Deadline for submission of materials is Feb. 1, 2013.
Two winners will be determined, one for most IT equipment removed, one for largest percentage of IT equipment removed. We don’t care how you get there. Going virtual? Consolidating servers? Moving to the cloud? Going out of business?! We don’t care. Just unplug and decommission those machines.
Paperwork: What’s the proof? We want to see a paper trail. Send us change records. Do you identify machines by server name or serial number? Removed 752 servers? We want to see the submission of the work. Did you send the hardware to a recycler? Send us the receipt.
Results: We want to know how much energy you saved. Send us the UPS output reading before the change and after the change. You can do it right in the flow of work.
Photos: Send us a few before-and-after photos. Servers in the cabinets, servers in the docks going out. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive. Extra credit for creativity.
Winners in each category will receive commemorative rodeo belt buckles and a dedicated presentation slot at Uptime Institute Symposium, May 2013, in Santa Clara, Calif.
Submit your documents for inspection to Uptime Institute’s Matt Stansberry. Also send any comments, questions, cowboy jokes. Thanks for your interest. Hike up your Wranglers, unhitch your horses, and get to work.
Posted by Jeannette Beltran | Posted in Data center consolidation, Data center energy efficiency, Uptime Institute Symposium, Uptime Symposium | Posted on 30-07-2012
According to the 2012 Uptime Institute Data Center Industry Survey, 30% of data centers are rapidly running out of capacity. Many companies are seeking creative solutions to meet demand and conserve costs, but most of the strategies deployed involve significant up-front capital — requiring investment in new hardware and server virtualization.
Uptime Institute was interested in what kind of efficiency gains and cost savings organizations could achieve by decommissioning existing hardware in their data centers.
The companies that participated in the first annual Uptime Institute Server Roundup documented the decommissioning of outdated, unused and power-draining equipment and shared their energy- and cost-saving accomplishments. In March 2012, the Uptime Institute announced that AOL had come out on top after clearing out 9,484 servers, for a total savings of $5.5 million.
Starting in January 2011, AOL involved its entire TechOps team in three separate but related initiatives, with the objectives of eliminating inefficient and abandoned servers; shutting down or merging extraneous applications; and increasing utilization with an internal cloud. This project spanned three data centers in the United States, one small domestic colocation facility, and a leased colo space overseas.
One major component of AOL’s strategy to consolidate and decommission servers was its transition to cloud computing. Like many organizations today, AOL was running out of capacity in its data centers, so the company sought to migrate data to a scalable private cloud that would allow for quicker deployment times and reduce the capex and opex required for IT expansion. The AOL Cloud project kicked off in July 2010, and by October 2011, the company had launched its cloud data center, ATC — a 100% lights-out facility with no full-time employees — dedicated to hosting its private cloud.
Sister initiatives Project Absurdity and Power Hog involved extensive reviews of the organization’s existing products, applications and data center assets. Between the two projects, AOL had to look at nearly every individual server in its facilities and discuss each server’s future with its owners. As its name suggests, Project Absurdity sought to identify “absurd” server applications and products; specifically, products that had been neglected, abandoned or replaced with newer technology. Once identified, the AOL team was able to determine whether the product deserved re-investment or whether it should be transitioned to another project or shut down altogether.
The corresponding Power Hog initiative analyzed AOL’s hardware and assets, with a specific review of power consumption, as well as CPU, memory utilization and maintenance costs. Employees knew they and their servers had been “marked” as part of Power Hog when a trophy of a bronze pig appeared on their desks. (As AOL’s CTO Mike Manos said in a blog post, “I guess we were not below shame as a tactic.”) Of the 40,000 production hosts analyzed during the Power Hog project, the team decommissioned about 5,000, with an additional 2,400 hosts set to be decommissioned in the future. The investigation into AOL’s existing assets resulted in five outcomes: applications migrated to the cloud; applications migrated to a new non-cloud host; applications retired altogether; hosts consolidated; or hardware refreshed.
The 9,484 servers that were ultimately decommissioned equaled a 26% turnover of AOL’s IT assets. With each server operating at an average electrical cost of $174 per year, the decommissioning resulted in a savings of $1.4 million of its $13-million annual electric bill. Additionally, the consolidation saved $2.2 million in licensing costs, $62,400 in maintenance costs, and $1.2 million in recycling, scrapping and reselling old equipment – not to mention the avoidance of nearly 20 tons of carbon emissions. While the company did ultimately invest in 8,376 newer, more efficient servers, its net savings was still an impressive $4 million.
At AOL, it was all part of what Manos calls clearing the “cruft.” In his blog, Manos describes cruft as “years of build-up of technology, processes, politics, fiscal orphaning and poor operational hygiene” that can be a huge barrier to an organization’s agility in its online and IT operations. With the lessons learned through the course of the three projects, the AOL team offers these recommends to other organizations aiming to “clear the cruft”: Keep communication open with a broad audience; seek and secure ongoing executive sponsorship; maintain committed to continuing progress; and, importantly, keep it fun to avoid employee burnout.
Knowing how common it is for old, inefficient, and even completely abandoned servers to drain power in today’s data centers, it shouldn’t be surprising that so many organizations are running into capacity constraints in their facilities. And while it’s arguably “more fun” to focus on the deployment of new products and technologies, the cost savings and carbon-emission reductions that AOL saw after only one year demonstrates just how much organizations stand to gain by zeroing in on inefficiencies in their existing infrastructures.
Posted by mstansberry | Posted in Data center consolidation, Data center energy efficiency, Uptime Institute Symposium, Uptime Symposium | Posted on 04-04-2012
Over the past decade, U.S. taxpayers have sunk billions of dollars into the operation of thousands of underutilized government data centers. In fact, according to former federal CIO Vivek Kundra, before the announcement of a huge federal data center consolidation initiative, the U.S. government’s IT infrastructure had an average utilization of only 27%.
Now, take a look inside the biggest data center consolidation project in the world. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget has committed to closing 1,200 federal data centers by 2015 in an effort to combat data center waste and siloed bureaucracy on a massive scale. Over the course of the consolidation initiative, government agencies hope to make better use of tax dollars by halting redundant federal IT spending and excess energy consumption, improving cyber security and taking advantage of hot technologies like virtualization and cloud computing.
So far, the consolidation project has exceeded initial goals. In one success story, the Census Bureau has managed to close a 6,570-square-foot contractor-operated data center, which will save the agency $1.7 million annually. The Census Bureau has reduced its total data center power consumption by 10 percent and is even offering hosting and colocation services to other agencies.
The federal data center consolidation initiative has saved $14 million to date, but that’s only .0183% of the U.S. government IT budget, and the project is far from over. Find out what the situation is like on the ground for the agencies tasked with the heavy lifting from a panel of federal IT executives, hosted by MeriTalk. Karen Petraska of NASA will provide an overview of her agency’s data center strategy; the Department of Energy’s Jake Wooley will discuss efforts to achieve energy savings and lower PUE; and Anil Karmel of the National Nuclear Security Administration will offer insight on the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Infrastructure on Demand private cloud.
Posted by mstansberry | Posted in Data center consolidation, Uptime Institute Symposium | Posted on 29-03-2012
Tags: AOL, NBC, Server Roundup, Uptime Institute
Uptime Institute announces the winners of the Inaugural Server Roundup Contest. AOL roped in the prize for both the largest percentage of equipment removed and for most IT equipment removed. NBC Universal rode in with runner up.
The Inaugural Uptime Institute Server Roundup was announced October, 2011 as a contest to remove and recycle obsolete IT equipment. Participants were required to document the decommissioning of the machines, and provide data on power savings, and photos of the servers.
Decommissioning a single 1U rack server can result in $500 per year in energy savings, an additional $500 in operating system licenses, and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs. Our winners rounded up close to 10,000 head.
Matt Stansberry, Director of Content and Publications, said, “The intent of the Server Roundup was to encourage and recognize the removal of obsolete computing hardware. So much of the past several years’ efforts around data center efficiency has focused on the facilities infrastructure and PUE. This contest was specifically designed to engage the IT community to get serious about asset utilization and energy efficiency.
“By taking unused servers out of the data center, you’re also reducing the amount of supporting infrastructure necessary. Removing unused servers has a huge impact on overall energy use, which is the goal of most data center owners and operators.”
AOL sent 9,484 head to the stockyards, representing a 26% turnover in server assets across the company. The roundup resulted in a total savings of $5.05 million from reduced utility costs, maintenance, and licensing costs, and includes cash in hand of $1.2 million from asset sales and reclamation. Environmental benefits were seen in the reduction of almost 20 tons of carbon emissions.
“AOL decided to pursue this contest due to both the prestige of the Uptime Institute, whose programs are typically well-respected in the data center arena, and the fun associated with the program, since AOLers do have fun at work,” said Brenda Rian, AOL’s Senior Manager, Environmental Health & Safety. “AOL has been working on data center energy efficiency for a number of years, and this contest allowed us to pause and quantify the carbon footprint and utility savings of these ongoing efforts.”
NBC Universal’s Infrastructure team culled 1,090 head. Those servers removed represent approximately 29% of the total enterprise. Only about 3,800 physical servers remain in their herd.
“The concept behind the Roundup was unique. Taking a routine activity that most people never see and moving it to the forefront of the conversation is a great mechanism to inspire not only our team but healthy competition between like minded organizations,”said Saul Mankes, Director, Data Protection & Infrastructure Continuity NBC Universal, MediaWorks.
“As energy costs continue to rise, rationalizing the portfolio to achieve increased efficiencies has been critical to meeting the growing needs of the business. Through intense virtualization efforts and rigid reviews of infrastructure NBCUniversal has been able to retire over 60 tons of recycled hardware. As a result the company has been successful in lowering power consumption, support costs and increasing awareness of these challenges.”
You can congratulate the cowpokes at AOL and NBC Universal during the 2012 Uptime Institute Symposium in Santa Clara, CA, 13-17 May. They’ll be taking off their spurs and coming in off the trail to present and collect their rewards – genuine Texas rodeo belt buckles. Symposium will feature an awards ceremony, and presentations regarding the specific process, protocol, and benefits of their efforts. Buy them a sarsaparilla and listen to their tales of technology gone bad.
Let’s “head ‘em up, move ‘em out, get those doggies rollin” for Uptime Institute Server Roundup 2012. Contest rules are the same as last year. Deadline for submissions is Feb 1st 2013.
Posted by mstansberry | Posted in Data center consolidation, Data center infrastructure management, Data center operations, IT and Facilities Management Integration, Uptime Institute Symposium | Posted on 09-12-2011
Response to the Inaugural Uptime Institute Server Roundup Contest has been great so far, with teams signing up from around the world to participate. The goal of the event is to remove obsolete servers, save energy, and save money. Decommissioning a single 1U rack server can result in $500 per year in energy savings, an additional $500 in operating system licenses, and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs. That’s not chump change.
Winners of the contest will receive one of these beautiful rodeo belt buckles, just finished by cowboy artisans in Texas:
Winners will also be honored at Uptime Institute Symposium 2012 and their case studies will be featured sessions.