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5 levers to reduce the environmental footprint of your IT

21 March 2023

While society is going digital, the environmental challenges we face, starting with the climate emergency, call for a more rational use of technology. Organisations are becoming increasingly aware of this. An IT environment needs electricity to function. A significant amount of energy is also often required to cool IT infrastructures, which generate heat during use. So in the current context, it is important to consider the levers at our disposal to minimise this need for energy, especially since this approach, while beneficial to the environment, should also permit the company to reduce its energy costs and improve its profitability.

In this article, we would like to discuss with you some of the ways in which you can reduce the energy and environmental footprint of your IT infrastructure.

Optimise the use of your local resources

Many organisations still rely on locally deployed IT resources to meet business needs. These infrastructures, although modest, often run 24 hours a day to ensure service availability and are oversized to meet greater needs at certain times of the year. In addition, these facilities are in many cases older and have higher energy requirements than newer technologies.

Today, manufacturers pay much more attention to the equipment’s energy consumption, integrating eco-design principles when developing their products.

To reduce the energy impact of IT within an organisation, the first challenge is to optimise its installations, for example by renewing the technology used. Hyperconverged architecture, for instance, can significantly improve the use of IT resources, reducing the hardware footprint.

Densification of IT resources

Another way to reduce your IT footprint is to move your infrastructure from a local location to an outsourced data center. Densification of IT resources within a remote computer room allows economies of scale to be achieved. The use of energy to cool a room can be optimised.

Tier IV certification, which all data centres in the POST group can now claim, meets obligations in terms of service availability, but also environmental issues. Our data centres have been designed with these issues in mind. For example, installations can be cooled naturally, without additional energy input, using outside air. Resource management is optimised to reduce the environmental footprint and minimise CO2 emissions.

The cloud, a lever for sharing resources

In addition, the use of cloud services allows for a great degree of flexibility in the use of IT resources. Through these pooling models, the idea is to allow organisations to use the IT resources they actually need at any given time and to be able to scale them up in a very flexible way. In other words, it is no longer necessary to oversize an installation in anticipation of future or temporary needs.

What is more, cloud service providers are developing business models that involve the rational use of energy, as this is one of the main drivers of profitability for their model. They are therefore constantly innovating to reduce the amount of energy needed to operate the installations. Some hyperscalers have submerged data centres or installed them in the coldest parts of the world, in order to be able to cool down the infrastructure without additional energy input.

Optimise the use of resources

The challenge, as you will have gathered, is to succeed in using IT resources according to current needs. Among other things, significant savings can be made by adjusting the resources used over time in line with the actual processing load. Orchestration technology solutions are now coming to the aid of organisations to help them optimise the use of infrastructure. Depending on requirements, they allow resources to be provisioned or decommissioned automatically. This ensures that a server is not running when it is not needed, but also that the workloads that are really needed at a given time are grouped and concentrated on certain physical resources, thus freeing up and switching off resources that are not required at the same time.

Minimise stored data

To reduce the environmental footprint of IT, beyond the configuration of the infrastructure, it is also necessary to reflect on the use of technology. One of the challenges in this area is to minimise the amount of data stored. The storage space needed to preserve data over time implies the use of a varying amount of energy. Having the IT team and the company’s users give thought to the data that is actually needed, in the short, medium and long term, should, for example, make it possible to store only what is really necessary.

Deleting emails that you don’t need to keep, for example, frees up computer resources. This lever for reducing the environmental footprint is more cultural and organisational than technical. However, it is of prime importance and as such should not be neglected so that you can successfully carry out CSR initiatives involving the users of your company.

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