Penn Green IT: Examples of Success
Units from around campus are working toward making their computing operations more environmentally friendly. Below are just a couple of examples of Penn's Green IT Success. To nominate an example of Green IT success that you would like to see highlighted on this page, please contact Mike Lazenka.
Division of Human Resources: Desktop Management Practices
The Division of Human Resources has implemented a power management strategy, using Altiris for its 75 workstations to make sure staff computers are being turned off at night and weekends on a regular basis. They estimate to be saving Penn about $7,000 annually in electricity costs. A central server automatically shuts down the computers from 9 PM to 6 AM every weekday and 24 hours for Saturday and Sunday. Powering up the systems at 6 AM in advance of workers' arrivals, mitigates the usual excuse people use for not turning off their computers---slow boot up in the morning. Kudos to the IT Staff in Human Resources for taking the lead and achieving this green success! More technical details can be found on the Provider Notes Wiki.
Wharton School: Vance Hall Server Room Renovation/Management
The Wharton School recently renovated one of their two data centers and incorporated several energy and cost saving features into the design. The server room is configured with hot and cold aisles with in row air conditioning, the room is lit with motion sensitive lights, and contains 21 racks (the room can hold 30 racks) with unused spaces in each rack blanked out to prevent the flow of air from the hot aisles from bleeding in to the cold. The room is also configured with 208 volt power allowing for servers to be racked more densely and wires are managed overhead, avoiding the raised floors seen in other server rooms. The server room also has screened windows that can be opened to compensate for an equipment failure.
In addition to the server room features, Wharton has taken advantage of virtualizing hosts and using shared storage. The room contains approximately 219 physical servers with 154 virtual machines running on 28 of those physical hosts. If these hosts were not virtualized, the servers would fill at least an additional 4 racks as well as requiring additional heat and electricity.
Because of the hot and cold aisle arrangement, the room currently uses 15.25 Tons of cooling, Whole room Air Conditioning would require larger, more powerful units. Future plans include virtualizing additional hosts as well containing the hot aisles on the ends once the aisles are full which will result in additional energy savings.
Way to go Wharton for conserving energy by designing and maintaining such an efficient space and optimizing how servers are hosted for your constituents! For additional information about the Wharton Vance Hall Server Room and other Green Initiatives by Wharton Computing, please see their GreenIT website: http://sustainability.wharton.upenn.edu/energyuse_greenit.html
Information Systems and Computing
Technology Support Services: Desktop Power Management Service using Tivoli/BigFix
The average administrative computer at Penn is only in active use 3 hours a day, but many faculty and staff keep their computers turned on all the time. Accolades to ISC's Support-on-Site Services unit for addressing this problem and offering a solution to reduce the energy consumption of idle computers without negatively impacting faculty and staff work flows. The ISC Desktop Power Management initiative reduces power consumption of desktop computers by utilizing Tivoli/BigFix desktop management. Desktop computers are set to turn monitors off after a period of inactivity. The computer itself is set to go into standby mode after a longer period of inactivity. While standby mode uses only 1 watt more energy than fully off, the computer will resume where you left off with mouse or keyboard activity. These settings also take advantage of time that you've stepped away from your computer (e.g., for meetings or lunch) to save energy.
The largest benefit is found by reducing power draw for evenings and weekends. Many faculty and staff will occasionally use a home machine to remote to their work desktop to use resources in the office. In these cases, the office machines are left always on just in case they are needed. ISC was able to take advantage of Tivoli/BigFix with a web page which allows one to wake a desktop from off or standby mode only when needed. After a period of inactivity, the computer will resume standby mode and significantly reduce the energy consumption of the desktop.
ISC was awarded a Penn Green Fund Grant to promote desktop power management using Tivoli/BigFix. Participating departments may receive a rebate on the monthly service fee for one year for each machine participating with greener power management settings. Local Support Providers (LSP's) also benefit from other, non-power related desktop management features of the Tivoli/BigFix service, such as remote software and security patch installation, to provide more efficient computing support. Long-term, departments will also realize a savings in energy fees through a significant reduction in desktop energy consumption. Most of all, participating departments are helping to meet Penn's goal to cut its campus energy use by 17 percent by 2014. For more information, see Support-on-Site's service page.
Information Systems and Computing Technology Support Services: Classroom Management System
Classroom Technology Services provides technical support for technology in Penn's Central Pool classrooms. Recently, they implemented Extron GlobalViewer Enterprise (GVE), a classroom management system, in most of the Central Pool classrooms on campus. As of this writing, 156 rooms are monitored by the system. They plan for implementation in all 205 Central Pool classrooms by September 2013.
CLASSROOM EQUIPMENT CURFEW SAVES ELECTRICITY AND SUPPLIES
Although the system was installed primarily for its monitoring and remote control capabilities, the system has provided great "green" benefits as well. Because all classes on campus end by 11:00 PM and do not begin prior to 7:00 AM, the system will shutdown all of the technology in controlled classrooms and not allow it to be turned on prior to the unlock time. This prevents equipment from being accidentally left on saving power as well as extending the useful life of equipment and consumable items such as projector bulbs and filters. This "equipment curfew" is currently enabled in 78 of the Central Pool classrooms.
The monitoring capabilities provide a more rapid response to issues through a series of preprogrammed alerts. It also allows CTS staff to get a better handle on when preventive maintenance is required. GVE boasts a dashboard feature to take a look at remaining lamp hours and other statuses of the installed technology. This monitoring has decreased downtime in classrooms, and has allowed for proactive responses to potential classroom problems. The remote control capabilities of the classroom systems allow staff to support instructors in Central Pool classrooms from remote locations. Equipment can be rebooted, video sources can be switched, and this allows for a rapid remote response to an instructor experiencing a systems malfunction.
For more information on the Central Pool classroom technology, as well as information about scheduled projects, please see the ISC Classroom Technology Services website: http://www.isc-cts.upenn.edu/.
Information Systems and Computing: Hardware Recommendations
Purchasing standards have emphasized various sustainability-related criteria over the last few years. Buying efficient hardware, helps to steer Penn green. The good news is if you've been following ISC's hardware recommendations, you've been purchasing efficient systems, maybe without even realizing it.
For more information about hardware guidance visit Penn's Desktop Recommendations page.