Energy management in Software Development
Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist, provided the quote of the month in the April 2011 edition of the IET’s Engineering & technology magazine: “The problem is that over 80 per cent of IT professionals still aren’t really addressing this issues at the level they could.Â They don’t actively monitor and drive energy reduction.” Energy management (a euphemism for reduced energy use) has been a concern of mine for some time so I should be, to a large extent, ready to take this on board.Â However, coming out of the blue in this business domain instead of my other business domain, I must confess that I reacted the way that many of you may have done, it felt like a challenge to my engineering competence but I quickly asserted to myself that he must be talking to those wrench-wielding hardwareÂ engineers and data center managers not us software engineers. But then I thought, the hardwareÂ engineers can’t be 80% of IT staff canÂ they?Â And isn’t Microsoft still a software company (despite some indications to the contrary)?Â So maybe Rob was talking to us software engineers? So what can software engineers do to “actively monitor and drive energy reduction”?Â Â One of the mainÂ ideas that energy management advisers focus on is “Do we really need to be running all this equipment all the time?”Â For the software engineers, this translates into, “How can we run our applications with fewer servers at any given time.?”Â Here are some things to think about:
- Are all of the applications in your organizations portfolio strictly necessary?Â One of our clients is taking big steps to reduce it’s application portfolio (created by successive mergers and acquisitions).Â Doing this usually requires local fiefdoms to acknowledge that they can and will cooperate with the colleagues who have broadly the same functional needs.Â It is important that everyone gets rewarded for removing applications by seeing a cut in the application maintenance costs in addition to the cut in energy consumption.
- CanÂ all ofÂ your applicationsÂ take advantage of server virtualization?Â Can they be upgraded to do so?Â Should this be a criteria for selecting which applications survive the considerations described in the first bullet?
- CanÂ all ofÂ your applicationsÂ take advantage of modern server power management capabilities? Can they be upgraded to do so?Â Should this be a criteria for selecting which applications survive the considerations described in the first bullet?
If you’d like a longer conversation on energy management in IT, please contact me.