Green Technology Solutions

Why go green?

In recent years, the call for "green" has grown louder. We hear it in the news and see it on billboards and in magazines -- and, unfortunately, feel it in our pockets. Regardless of your political affiliation or environmental beliefs, it's impossible to deny this fact: The cost of energy is increasing.

As consumers, we feel the results of our inefficiencies in our daily budgets. As individuals responsible for designing network architectures, we assist our clients so that they do not feel those inefficiencies in their operating costs.


Why is it important?

Be smart, do your part.....

Why is that important? In the late 1990s, when the Internet bubble burst, the companies that survived were those that found a way to become efficient. These same businesses are now looking at ways to further increase their efficiencies without cutting their workforce -- and that includes every aspect of how they think and operate. In this article, I'm going to outline some elements contributing to this "green wave" as it relates to network design.

  • What does it mean to be green? It depends on who you ask! For the purposes of this article, I'm not going to go into detail about carbon footprints or the residual impact of IT infrastructure as it relates to the environment -- but I will say that the basis of being "green" comes down to efficiency. Efficiency is a broad term, especially in network architectures, but there are several key elements:


· Consumption

· Consolidation

· Manageability

· Lifecycle cost

Each of these elements is related, and their synergies create the semblance of a "total system."


Are you switched on about green technology?



Consumption is the broadest of terms used most often to describe the power and space usage of network elements such as servers, routers, switches, firewall's and SANs. There are, however, other points that can be related to this term, but they aren't as easy to differentiate.

Consolidation is a distinct design option that can mitigate your consumption issues and provide an avenue for increased manageability -- and subsequently decrease your cost of support. Here are a couple of technologies that consolidate infrastructure:

·     Virtualization (includes server, firewall, SAN, routers, switches, desktops)
·     Chassis-based installation (FWSM, WSM, RSM, VPNSM, etc.)

I will note that there are caveats to this approach that shouldn't be taken lightly. Notably:  Security, Scalability, Implementation time

Lower consumption through consolidation results in increased manageability and lower lifecycle cost -- or a "green" infrastructure! The desired result of instilling some of these principles into the minds of engineers is that organizations can start taking advantage of savings gained through efficiencies.




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