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Who Pays the Power Bill?

When the closets are added to the bill, the power consumption by IT technology probably exceeds 2% of the energy consumed in the US. The issues surrounding VoIP power usage are discussed in depth with suggested solutions in the December 2007 issue of Business Communications Review, "The Greening of VOIP". How much of the power bill at your organization is for IT?

The reporting structure for the CIO is changing. The change in reporting structure will bring the power costs into greater focus in the future. The power rates will vary significantly depending on the location of the sites, where in the US and the time of year. The cost of energy production is also increasing from 5% to 20% per year and as much as 50% in one state in 2007. According to a Nemertes Research report, power and power scalability are the primary challenge for 63% of enterprises.

An article in Baseline magazine, "Fewer CIOs Are Reporting to CEOs, Survey" focuses a survey Baseline conducted that reported, "Far fewer chief information officers are reporting to their chief executives. Last year, 45% of those responding to a survey by the Society of Information Management said the CIO in their organization reported to their CEO. This year, that number is 31%. More CIOs are reporting to the chief financial officer (CFO) or the chief operating officer (COO). Twenty-nine percent of respondents said the CIO reported to the CFO, compared with 25% last year, and 22% said the information chief reported to the COO, compared with 16% last year." This change in reporting structure will also change the way IT's financial operations will be scrutinized.

Who pays the energy bill varies with the organization. I have not found an official survey of who pays the energy bill for IT. In some cases, IT is billed for the energy consumed in the data center. Most CIOs have been treating the energy cost as part of doing business and have not procured equipment that would significantly reduce the energy cost. Most of the attention has focused on rack and floor space consumption. Packing more blades per rack keeps the real estate bill for the data center floor space from expanding too large. The disadvantage of this approach is that the energy and air conditioning expense per data center square foot of space has risen significantly. The costs for the energy consumed in the closet are hidden in the general building budget, and few enterprises have any idea of this energy cost.

It is becoming apparent that energy consumption will become an ever increasing concern for the IT and telecom departments. Here are some recommendations, from my "Greening of VoIP" article, that should be considered by those planning the energy usage in the closet at an enterprise:

* Investigate the present energy usage in detail by location, room and closet. Develop a baseline of the present usage and costs for comparison with changes and improvements that will occur in the future.

* Procure test equipment to meter the power use in the closets and rooms, if they are not separately metered. Then sample the usage for the energy consumption.

* Determine the distribution of usage across lighting, IT equipment HVAC, UPS losses and other consumers of power. This will help guide the enterprise to where the biggest benefits can be obtained. * Purchase DC-powered IT equipment.

* Purchase LAN switches with integrated energy management.

* Avoid class 3 IP phones.

Calculating the heat generated for a LAN closet follows the method shown below from APC Technical note # 69. . § Add up the watts for IT equipment ___ § LAN end span PoE input power x.6 or ___ § Mid-span PoE input power x .4 ___ § Lighting at full watts ___ § UPS power rating x .09 ___ § ADD ALL TOGETHER FOR TOTAL WATTS ___ § Total watts X .86 = Watts needed for cooling that closet

The time spent for judicious evaluation of the energy costs and procurement plans for the future will be more than compensated for by the reduction or stabilization of the energy costs.