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CEO Cheat Sheet: Greening the Data Center

Cut your energy costs with a few quick, easy tips for greening your data center, from Cisco's Jimmy Ray Purser

Smaller businesses tend to think that greening the data center is something that involves solar panels, wind generators, and other items that only larger-size businesses can afford. But according to Jimmy Ray Purser, there are a lot of very simple ways for small and midsize businesses to green their data centers, save some money, and do something good for the environment.

On BizWise TV, Purser explains how smaller businesses can do this. First, he says, businesses need to examine a copy of their power bill to learn how much power they're actually using. Then they need to take a good, hard look at their servers and ask themselves how many servers they're actually using. Many servers don't get used or are used very lightly, which Purser defines as less than 5% utilization. Purser's advice is to get rid of all those servers and that will save businesses serious money because, as he says, "every time you heat something, you need to cool it."

Don't Miss: 5 Easy, Cheap Ways to Green Your Data Center

Purser recommends making the servers that are left work much harder and using virtualization to get there. He also recommends using the power management utility to manage how you run the servers -- just a little slower and it can save businesses a lot of money. Purser calls this one of "the most underutilized utilities in your network."

Surprisingly, Purser notes that one of the biggest expenses in any company is its power supplies. He points out that most companies buy the biggest and the best -- up to 120 volts -- but only use about 48 volts to run a server. All that heat gets tacked onto the cooling bill. That cost can be reduced by using high-efficiency power supplies.

Purser recommends businesses examine their power bill again, after implementing some of these changes. He believes that companies will see that they saved a "ton of cash" and helped keep the environment "good and green."

VIDEO: CEO Cheat Sheet: Greening the Data Center

Naomi Grossman is assistant editor of

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