IBM: CIOs must find and charge IT power hogs

CIOs can’t afford to keep the energy costs of their data centres a dirty little secret anymore.

That’s the message from IBM in a white paper called Optimize energy use for the data center through enhanced measurement and management, which is included as part of IT World Canada’s three-part series, the CIO’s Green IT Business Case Playbook. In the 16-page report, Big Blue makes the case not only for reducing power consumption, but making sure the costs for the IT-related hydro bill gets spread across the board.

The most important step, according to IBM, is that companies do a better job of monitoring the mission-critical systems that run most corporate enterprises, particularly the amount of energy used to perform routine tasks and cool the actual machines. The next step, Big Blue says, is to make that information public.

“Equally important, this energy data must be integrated across the enterprise and at multiple levels, on both the IT and the business sides of the organization,” the white paper says, “thereby managing energy in the context of business requirements.” This includes not only power, but temperature and application performance metrics.

Measurement should become a part of the workflow in a company, according to IBM, and the more visually this information can be presented, the better. “Capture, analyze and display assets, locations and work ordersthrough geo-graphic information system (GIS) modeling and mapping software.”

While IT departments and CIOs have typically shared responsibility for data centre energy costs with the facilities department, IBM’s white paper suggests that line of business managers may need to make their employees more accountable for the amount of power required to do their jobs.

“Feed energy-use information into chargeback applications, enabling business unitsto accurately understand “who is using what” and hold users accountable,” the white paper says. “Track “who used what,” and obtain reports showing which internal users are responsible for the greatest use of IT assets and power consumption. Bill either to internal users or to external customers, encouraging reduced IT and energy use.”

IBM offers a number of tools to help companies monitor and measure energy use. For more information, including details of a no-charge 60-day trial, download the complete report, Optimize energy use for the data center through enhanced measurement and management.