Passive Ignorance on Power
Who pays for IT and communications power? How much power is used? Can anyone do something about conserving IT and communications Power? I recently asked these questions of my audience at the Voicecon conference in Orlando in March 20, 2008. No one could answer the questions.
Who pays for IT and communications power? How much power is used? Can anyone do something about conserving IT and communications Power? I recently asked these questions of my audience at the Voicecon conference in Orlando in March 20, 2008. No one could answer the questions.My session at Voicecon, "Saving Money with Green VoIP" did not draw a large audience. However everyone stayed until I was finished. It can be difficult to get attendees to stay until the end of the Thursday sessions. I thought that the keynote with Vice President Al Gore, who won the Nobel Prize, would help set up the attendees for wanting to learn more.
None of the attendees had any idea there were techniques and products for reducing the energy costs. Several came up to me at the end of the presentation, enthusiastic that could make a real difference.
Most attendees agreed that it would impossible to discard their present equipment to improve the energy conservation. However, IT departments have about a four to five year refresh cycle for equipment. This is the opportunity to purchase energy saving equipment. Most IT departments do not change out all of the equipment at one time. The energy savings can begin relatively soon for most IT organizations with the refresh cycle of about 20% to 25% of their equipment..
Although the Green theme was not predominant at VoiceCon, there were vendors who addressed the power conservation issues. Nortel was demonstrating their lower power consumption side-by-side with Cisco equipment on the exhibit floor where Nortel introduced the idea of a Cisco power tax.
Other vendors were not silent. Avaya and Mitel had lower power IP phones including IP phones with color screens, gigabit speed and high fidelity/broadband voice codecs. Siemens is saying that their new 802.11n WLAN access points require the least power when compared to competitor's products.
Nortel has a position paper (PDF), "IT networks: How to make an immediate impact on your bottom line and the environment". The position paper has several tables comparing the Nortel vs. the Cisco product. The tables include edge switches , IP phones, secure routers and core switches. It assumes a 2,500-user network with New York state energy rates, shows the wattage savings and the carbon emissions reductions of the two entire networks.
Nortel likens Cisco to the SUV. Nortel claims its data networking devices commonly use 75 to 135% less power. Nortel has created a custom application (Energy Efficiency Calculator) that allows users to input the number of IP phones and Cisco switch chassis. It is based on current power rates and provides a Cisco vs. Nortel power comparison. The results from this calculator show the first year the "Cisco power tax" is $86,876.16. Over the course of five years, it's a major cost of $434,380.82.
For example, a 10-slot Cisco chassis draws 3,928.1 watts and puts out 13,414.3 BTUs compared to Nortel's comparable product, which draws 1,440.0 watts and 4,912.0 BTUs. Nortel believes there is an immediate ROI. There will be direct energy savings as well--significantly reduced cooling requirements. When taken over a five year period, assuming the power rates did not rise, the savings are almost enormous. When you consider that the power rates will, in fact, rise 5%-20% annually, the matter is even more urgent.
This custom application development was the result of a large data proposal to an Eastern US metropolitan area that is offering $4m tax credits to locate the business outside of the downtown area due to the power grid being saturated. Nortel was told "if I'm going to purchase your gear, it MUST save me money and above all cut my power usage". The Nortel engineers went to work and discovered a huge key differentiator, power consumption.
Green was a modest vendor theme at Voicecon Spring 2008. I predict the way vendors are trying to differentiate themselves, especially against Cisco, going green will become one of the major themes at the next Voicecon Fall, November 10 to 13 in San Francisco.