As IT has become a major component in social infrastructure, it plays a vital role in humans life. Computing is a fast growing area which consumes energy a lot. A computer which performs well consumes lots of energy. It takes a lot of energy to create, package and retrieve data. With the development of the technologies, people tend to depend on these technologies more and more. It will lead us to many problems as energy is a non renewable resource. It will soon cost more to power a computer in future, than buying a new one today. Therefore we have to find methods, where we can minimize the wastage of energy while utilizing existing resources efficiently.
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Since computer plays a major role in our lives, demand for the energy, cost and wastage also increase dramatically. According to the Climate Saving Computing Initiative, the half of the power input to our PC is wasted without even reaching to the processor, memory, disk or any other component. Further, they have identified that added heat of the computer systems, inactive sleep and hibernate state of the computer and mal practices of using electronic equipments has a great impact in this energy wastage. It is estimated that out of $250 billion per year spent on powering computers worldwide only about 15% of that power is spent computing. The rest is wasted idling.
Therefore, Green Computing is introduced in order to maximize the energy efficiency and increase the recyclability of products and the factory waste. Green Computing is focusing on creating technologies that help to preserve nature and minimize the bad effects of the technological development.
Green Computing is an echo friendly approach to the modern computing environment. It discusses about the ways of using computers in environmental friendly way. The main focus of Green computing is reducing the environmental impact of industrial processes and innovative technologies caused by the Earth’s growing population and the ways of utilizing computer resources efficiently. It talks about serving social needs in a way which reduce the damage happen to the nature. Mainly this is talking about creating recyclable products, reducing pollution, providing alternatives to certain technological areas and etc. It is a concept which is already used in the IT environment. Researchers have found that most of the computers are not used for most of the time, but they are left running and many personal computers are left on unnecessarily. It leads to the high wastage of energy. These kinds of issues are also considered in Green Computing. It also talks about proper disposal of electronic waste.
Eco Friendly Computing
Green Computing is also known as Green IT. Environmental sustainability, Energy efficiency, and the cost of disposal and recycling also includes in Green IT.
The Energy Star program commenced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 was the first voluntary labelling program designed to promote and recognize energy efficiency. It is basically designed to promote and recognize energy efficiency in monitors, climate control equipments and other technologies. The term Green Computing immerged shortly after this Energy Star Program. The first function launched as a result of the Green Computing researches was the sleep mode function of computer monitor.
Approaches to Green Computing
In order to gain the environmental sustainability and efficient use of energy through computing there are four main paths to be taken.
Green Use – Using the computers and other related products in an efficient manner where the energy consumption is minimized.
Green Disposal – Reusing old computers, properly disposing and recycling other unwanted products.
Green Design – Designing energy efficient and environmentally friendly computers and accessories.
Green Manufacturing – Manufacturing computers and other related equipments in a way that they have a minimal effect to the environment.
These four steps can be further spanned in to number of activities and areas.
Efficient use of energy
Environmental sustainable designing
Responsible disposal and recycle
Use of renewable energy sources
Use of Green methodologies and assessment tools.
As an initial step to the Green Computing the work habits of the individual computer users have to be changed. Most of the energy wastages regarding the personal computer usage happen because of the false beliefs regarding the computer usage. For an instance, people belief that when turning off a computer and turning on it back uses more energy than it leaving on. But the actual energy consumption of the computer when it boots up, is far less than the energy it uses when left on for more than three minutes. Further the use of notebook computers rather than using personal computers will also save energy. Moreover, people think that screen savers do save energy. But the fact is that they are designed to increase the lifetime of monochrome monitors. The screen savers will save energy if they actually turn off the screen or turn off the backlight of the laptops. By letting the users get to know about these facts will change their habits and it will lead to power utilization.
When it comes to organizational level, many organizations have undertaken various kinds of activities as an approach to this Green IT.
Organizations have allowed their workers to work while being at home. This will help to reduce fuel emission at transportation. They are given all the necessary facilities to work. This is known as telecommuting. Virtualization refers to the consolidation of servers. It allows to two or more logical computer systems to run in one physical hardware. This leads minimum power consumption and maximum cooling. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology of voice transmission over internet or other packet switched networks. It reduces the telephone wiring infrastructure and is low cost. It is method of reducing metallic waste.
Green business practices
Green IT isn’t just about energy efficiencies but also about operational efficiencies that can improve the organization. In most of the organizations, Green IT is practiced because of the explicit business drivers such as cost and the availability of the energy, cost of the equipments, cost of the data centres, business process optimization and performance and efficiency. When focusing on business optimization, few areas can be targeted which energy demand can be reduced and growth can be increased with the help of IT.
Server and storage utilization and consolidation
Server, storage, and application virtualization
Technology and information life cycle strategies
Energy measurement and management
Green Information Strategy
Under Green Information Strategy, the ways of managing and retaining information has been defined. The ways of collecting, classifying and archiving information are introduced in Green Information Strategy.
It involves several key steps:
Understanding the requirements for information retention and availability.
Determining infrastructure requirements.
Conducting continual strategic planning to meet economic and business conditions and demand.
Measuring progress and adjusting the strategies.
Information Lifecycle Management is a set of concepts which helps organizations to build processes and implement best practices for creating, storing, archiving, and dispose data. A variety of technologies and methodologies can be used in order to optimize the storage utilization. Then the amount of storage required and the energy used to power will be reduced.
Maximizing data centre and server room efficiency
Designing a data centre for maximum efficiency is complex and requires input from many disciplines not normally associated with IT. But most of the organizations don’t have data centres. They have their IT equipments in a sever room. Server room is a data centre operated in a small scale. Here are few facts that have to be considered when designing a server room.
Raised floor in computer rooms was the general accepted norm since vacuum tube era.
Variable speed motors can tailor cooling power usage to need, producing substantial savings, and may prove less expensive in the long run though they are more expensive to purchase.
The trend in servers is to pack more CPUs in to a single track. But when power densities get above 200 watts per square foot, because of the high heat generated, too much air is needed to remove the heat. Therefore racks (19-inch EIA-310-D standard) with built-in chillers or even water-cooled servers, become preferable.
Use a large server.
Replace physical servers with virtual servers.
Blade servers put each processor, memory and hard drive on one single card called blade. These blades are fixed in to a backplane. A single power supply, a shared cooling system, a shared network interface is used among the blades, which connected to a backplane. Replacing multiple servers with blade servers generally saves power and space.
Storage systems are among the systems which consume power and storage a lot. Drivers have to be full powered and running to be able to store data.
“Data Deduplication” is the term used for removing the duplicates. It examines the hard drive or the storage system and find out the duplicates and remove them. It effectively reduces the storage allocated for certain data file and allocates it to other additional data. It increases the capacity of your system.
Thin provisioning is allocating right amount of storage is as needed. It helps to eliminate unused capacity. Storage can be used efficiently by allocating the required storage when it is needed and using storage management software to adjust it. As the storage is dynamically allocated the storage can be grown or shrink according to the application stored. Further storage management software can view applications simultaneously and allocate unused capacity as needed.
Storage virtualization gets all the available capacity together from multiple storage systems and enables it to share, without requiring a change in storage hardware. By enabling sharing it avoids the trapped capacity, which is available but cannot be used by an application.
Multiple applications and multiple Operating systems can be run simultaneously with the use of virtual memory technology. Virtualization increases the utilization of computer systems by condensing applications into few servers. Therefore the number of required servers will be reduced. It reduced the power consumption of the data centres and the cooling requirements.
Virtualization is one of the earliest paths to green, because when more than one application is run on a server (application consolidation) the number of servers required to support these applications is reduced. Fewer servers mean less power consumption and low energy requirement for cooling.
Future Directions on Green Computing
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