Friday, September 8, 2017

IT architecture and the environment: you, yes, you can make a difference.

Every cloud and IT architect can make a difference to the environment. We don't need to wait for feel good news about a solar or hydro project. There's a quantifiable cut in energy consumption when you select the correct CPU, design an hot aisle correctly, cache results closer to the requester, or optimise a query.

How much power has been saved by VDI/thin clients? We need to improve our communication skills: while a hydro plant/wind farm is noticeable ("looks big, must be good!"), the nature of our work makes it's difficult to communicate the benefits. Your DC went from PUE 1.3 to 1.2? Great! Is that the equivalent of rolling out 10,000 solar panels or turning the kitchen light off? You optimised a query? Fantastic! How many times does that query run per day, how much can the server be downsized, and what is the corresponding energy saving?

If we don't appreciate our own capabilities we will become the status quo we despise: expansion for the sake of budget, trading off perceived risk for inefficiency and waiting for someone else to fix our demand-side power inefficiencies with supply-side solar. The good news is that every IT architect can be the change they want to see. The bad news is that not every IT architect knows that.

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