Uptime Institute Recognizes Removal of Obsolete Servers

by Vangie Beal

AOL claims first prize for largest percentage of and most IT equipment removed.

AOL has taken first prize in the Inaugural Server Roundup Contest for both the largest percentage of and most IT equipment removed. Uptime Institute, a division of The 451 Group, today also announced NBCUniversal as runner up.

"The intent of the Server Roundup is to encourage and recognize the removal of obsolete computing hardware, which in turn has a huge impact on overall energy use," said Matt Stansberry, Director of Content and Publications, Uptime Institute. "So much of the past several years’ efforts around data center efficiency has focused on the facilities’ infrastructure and PUE. This contest was specifically designed to engage the IT community to get serious about asset utilization and energy efficiency."

The Inaugural Uptime Institute Server Roundup was introduced in October 2011 as a contest to remove and recycle obsolete IT equipment. Participants were required to document the decommissioning of the machines, and provide data on power savings, and photos of the servers.

Decommissioning a single 1U rack server can result in $500 per year in energy savings, an additional $500 in operating system licenses, and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs. The winners rounded up close to 10,000 servers.

AOL sent 9,484 head to the stockyards, representing a 26 percent turnover in server assets across the company. The Roundup resulted in a total savings of $5.05 million from reduced utility costs, maintenance, and licensing costs, and includes cash in hand of $1.2 million from asset sales and reclamation. Environmental benefits were seen in the reduction of almost 20 tons of carbon emissions.

"AOL decided to pursue this contest due to both the prestige of Uptime Institute, whose programs are typically well-respected in the data center arena, and the fun associated with the program, since AOLers do have fun at work," said Brenda Rian, AOL’s Senior Manager, Environmental Health & Safety. "AOL has been working on data center energy efficiency for a number of years, and this contest allowed us to pause and quantify the carbon footprint and utility savings of these ongoing efforts."

NBCUniversal's Infrastructure team culled 284 head. Those 284 servers removed represent approximately 7.4 percent of the total enterprise. Only about 3,800 physical servers remain in their herd.

"The concept behind the Roundup was unique. Taking a routine activity that most people never see and moving it to the forefront of the conversation is a great mechanism to inspire not only our team but healthy competition between like-minded organizations," said Saul Mankes, Director, Data Protection & Infrastructure Continuity NBCUniversal, MediaWorks. "As energy costs continue to rise, rationalizing the portfolio to achieve increased efficiencies has been critical to meeting the growing needs of the business. Through intense virtualization efforts and rigid reviews of infrastructure NBCUniversal has been able to retire over 60 tons of recycled hardware. As a result the company has been successful in lowering power consumption, support costs and increasing awareness of these challenges."

This article was originally published on Thursday Mar 29th 2012
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