New Cisco software saves energy on any IP-connected device

In an increasingly urbanized world, 70 per cent of all energy is consumed by cities, and of that, 70 per cent is consumed by buildings, according to Cisco Systems Inc. Reining in energy costs, even by a few percentage points, can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line and carbon footprint.

Some of those savings can come from properly-managed  IT systems, says Cisco Systems Inc., which this week launched new services in its EnergyWise Suite of power-saving technologies to help the effort.

in some industries, like financial services and telecommunications, more than 80 per cent of power demand comes from information technology, Tom Noonan, general manager of EnergyWise  products, said in a teleconference during the New York launch of the services.

Noonan came to Cisco in its acquisition of enterprise energy management company  Joulex Inc. three months ago. The new services are built in technology from JouleX.

The IP-based software is device-agnostic and can manage the energy usage of any IP-connected device, Noonan said. Its policy architecture can manage power on time-based, event-based, and location-based energy management policies.

Consider, for example, that an office phone is in use only 36 per cent of the time, says Noonan. Energy costs may be only $10 a year per phone, but if an enterprise has 400,000 phones, that $7.40 savings a unit adds up.

“Every watt saved is actually a watt created, because it doesn’t force the world to create another power plant,” Noonan said.

German financial services firm Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe has been using JouleX technology to power down ATMs at times the machines aren’t accessible to users, said Sparkasse’s Steffen Schmid. He said the savings were on the order of 180 euros (about $250) a year for each machine.

Sparkasse had previously been using the technology to power down thin clients that weren’t in use, and consolidate virtual machines onto a smaller number of servers when processor demand goes down. The company’s next move will be to extend the power management regimen to its redundant systems – obviously necessary for a financial institution, but a huge opportunity for energy savings.

And Sparkasse used it success in managing its own power to produce a new financial product: The bank has used the savings to promote a special financing package for companies that want to retrofit their businesses to save energy and money, Schmid said.

Beyond shutting down unnecessary servers, JouleX’s load-adaptive technology can also manage the power draw of the hardware, said Josef Bruner, JouleX founder. When demand goes down, EnergyWise can slow the clock speed of processors, saving energy.

Among the other EnergyWise solutions and services announced by Cisco [Nasadaq: CSCO]:

* EnergyWise Fast-Start trial software. A free, trial licence of EnergyWise management software provides basic reports of the energy consumed by any device, data centre or distributed office connected to a Cisco-based network, providing a snapshot of potential savings;

* EnergyWise Discovery Service. A 90-day Cisco energy audit aims to find energy waste and create carbon footprint benchmarks. A detailed executive summary outlines the energy-saving opportunities;

* EnergyWise Optimization Service. This service focuses on delivering visibility into data centre energy use by all physical and virtual devices and distributed offices. Cisco says it will help companies increase energy efficiency by identifying equipment to retire or virtualize, and to automate policies to power down devices when they’re not in use;

* EnergyWise Management for DataCenter Software. A network-based solution that helps measure and manage energy consumption of devices in the data center using its existing infrastructure. The offering includes 24-by-7 support, Cisco says.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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