Going Green for Green

It’s April 15 again, and to every adult citizen of the U.S. that means one thing – income tax deadline!

This year, individual taxpayers get a reprieve of a few days, until Monday, April 18, to file their taxes because Washington D.C. celebrates Emancipation Day today. Meanwhile, businesses across the country still have a few months to think about filing their corporate returns. As they do, they may be looking for a reprieve of their own, only theirs comes in the form of tax incentives for “Going Green.”

In 2005, former President George W. Bush signed into law a tax incentive plan that provided a deduction for companies and building owners that enacted plans to reduce heating, cooling, lighting and energy costs. That break helped to reduce companies’ taxable income, so owners got back a percentage of what they spent on implementing sustainable systems. However, these same incentives now stand to become an even bigger boon to business and property owners as the Obama administration moves to change them from deductions to credits. This means the dollars spent will directly reduce the amount of tax owed (or increase a refund) on a dollar-for-dollar basis or close to it.

Grassroots Green

For many companies, trying to qualify for these tax credits will require a good bit of retrofitting existing systems.  They will seek out ways to reduce their carbon footprint through energy use reductions and find methods to cut back on the number of hardware items – servers, routers, et al – used in their data closets. There’s one limiting caveat behind all of these efforts, though. Not only can the reduced power and physical footprint not detract from the current service being provided, but also it has to allow for growth, because as we all know, business data grows exponentially every year. If the “Green” data center doesn’t allow for growth, the tax credits won’t outweigh the inconvenience.

Some companies are going back to square one and building brand new, Green-conscious data centers from the ground up. Arthur Cole over at IT Business Edge has some good tips for companies looking to take this route to Green Data Centers. He discusses keys to making a Green data center plan work including verifying the local power infrastructure and ensuring that allowances for vertical scalability are incorporated. He notes that the initial investment for a Green, sustainable data center will be higher than just adding servers and more cable, but “the longer that solution is in place, the greater the return on that initial investment.”

The list of companies going Green is as long as it is impressive. In fact, Charlie Babcock at InformationWeek reports there is a virtual contest of sorts being waged between giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon.com to see who can build the largest data center that consumes the least amount of energy.

It isn’t Easy Being Green

Not everybody has the resources of Facebook, Google and Amazon.com. Nevertheless, over the next five years, 70% of enterprises will move or significantly modify their data center facilities to conserve on power, cooling and space. Sure, these efficiencies will pay for themselves over time if Congress and President Obama sign the proposed tax credits into law. But even today, eliminating redundant facilities can provide savings to companies in the form of lower facility costs and reduced operational expenditures.

This has elevated data center consolidation to the top of most CIO agendas, but it also presents performance challenges as users vie for shared resources.  In addition, remote users that are far away from centralized servers and storage can experience inconsistent, unreliable and overall disappointing application performance, while data migration further adds to the challenges.

This begs the question, “How can enormous volumes of data be moved to new locations quickly and cost effectively?”

Silver Peak’s WAN optimization solution is strategic to data center consolidation and data migration initiatives.  With Silver Peak’s NX, VX and VRX appliances, enterprises receive the following benefits:

  • Maximize WAN bandwidth / Lower WAN expenditures: Reduces over 95% of WAN traffic through disk based WAN deduplication and compression, enabling enterprises to consolidate data and resources within fewer data centers without upgrading WAN capacity. It also enables large transfers to take place over existing network infrastructure, which is vital for data migration.
  • Optimize application performance: Local information delivery coupled with latency mitigation techniques ensure that all centralized applications work across the WAN with LAN-like performance, and performance challenges that come from packet loss across the WAN, as is often the case with Internet VPNs and MPLS, are addressed. Mitigating WAN latency and loss overcomes the single biggest challenge to data center consolidation – poor application performance for remote users.
  • Manage shared resources: Robust QoS tools ensure critical applications are not starved and that real-time traffic is prioritized for optimal performance.

With Silver Peak, enterprises can put data centers where they make the most business sense without worrying about the impact that WAN performance has on remote user productivity.  In addition, data centers become operational quicker, and operate more cost effectively while taking advantage of the financial incentives for going Green.

About the author
Jonathan Bloom