Ontario sets goals for green initiatives

The Ontario Public Service’s I&IT organization has a green strategy and it’s serving as a framework for various technology implementations and procurement, according to Ontario CIO Ron McKerlie.

“I&IT is developing its own green strategy. We’re looking at how we use technology, how we procure it, how we provision it and how we dispose of it,” McKerlie told Intergovworld.com.

Some of the initiatives under the OPS’s green strategy include recycling heavy metal components, McKerlie said. “We’re trying to ensure that 100 per cent of what we procure gets recycled so that we don’t end up with any heavy metals, for example, in the landfill sites.”

The OPS will also work to ensure that organizations are consuming less energy for servers and other IT equipment, with a goal of reducing energy consumption by 10 per cent, the Ontario executive said.

McKerlie expects initiatives such as server consolidation and choosing flat screen technology over CRTs could help achieve the goal of reducing energy consumption.

The OPS has also been implementing virtualization technology in the data centres in a bid to fuel server consolidation efforts and reduce energy consumption and cost. Virtualization is the process of creating multiple virtual servers with one physical machine, increasing efficiency of utilization of server capacity.

“We’re trying to virtualize our servers as many as possible so we can take many of them out of production, which means that we reduce everything from energy consumption for powering them up to energy to run the air conditioners to keep them cool,” McKerlie said.

The OPS is developing a new data centre in Guelph, Ont. which, officials say, will replace the existing data centre in Downsview and can accommodate further growth in the province’s data centre requirements as well as kick start Ontario’s data centre consolidation strategy.

McKerlie said the new Guelph data centre is working to achieve bronze certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) qualification. “There are energy reduction opportunities there as we set up the data centre from scratch.”

The OPS Justice cluster is also making headway in the area of green IT through the Justice Video Network, according to the cluster’s CIO, John DiMarco.

The Justice Video Network provides the justice sector the ability to conduct certain judicial processes remotely through video communication. Expert witnesses from different parts of the world, for instance, can provide expert testimony through the video network without having to fly to Ontario, he said.

“It’s part of our greening strategy, to say the least, because you don’t need to transport,” said DiMarco.

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