Agencies Seek to Boost Energy Efficiency in the Network

From the smallest to the largest, federal agencies look to consolidate switches and deploy green gear.

Even the smallest of federal agencies have made progress toward a green networking future. There’s perhaps no better example than the Export-Import Bank, an agency of 550 staff and contractors.

During the past two years, the organization has replaced older telecom switches as part of building renovations and deployed Voice over IP. By combining functionality and reducing duplication, the Export-Import Bank network now uses the same devices for access to integrated functionality. CIO Fernanda Young says the network is now much more energy efficient.

The move toward a greener and more energy-efficient network is one that many organizations are taking, often hand in hand with a larger green IT initiative that commonly starts in the data center, says Eric Woods, a research director at Pike Research in Boulder, Colo.

“Traditionally, the network has been a relatively small piece of the effort to increase energy efficiency in the data center,” Woods says. “But as we virtualize networks, servers and storage — creating more complex data traffic and dependencies — the network becomes a bottleneck in terms of performance and energy consumption. Considering the networking aspects of energy efficiency will become increasingly important.”

Conscious Consumption

The Energy Department also strives for greener networks. The department is in the process of updating its network operations and systems to match the current and future needs of its workforce and IT systems, and to reduce energy consumption. These initiatives include updating wire systems, consolidating network ports and installing low-energy routers, switches and modems where possible, according to Niketa Kumar, a DOE spokeswoman.

To get the most out of green infrastructure initiatives, it’s important to understand exactly how the network and the components and processes it supports are operating. “Monitoring tools, which are still evolving, help clarify where the energy is being used and where the hot spots are,” says Pike Research’s Woods. That information can shed light on which network switches and other gear are most worthy of replacement. 

31%
Percentage of organizations that have implemented power-efficient networking equipment 

SOURCE: “Energy Efficient IT Report” (CDW•G, April 2012)

To learn more about boosting energy efficiency, consult CDW•G’s Energy Efficient IT Report.

 

 

 

 

Apr 13 2012