What is the one thing every IT manager should do, but isn’t…

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Environmental Sustainability Team

What is the one thing every IT manager should do, but isn’t…

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Welcome to Microsoft’s new blog on Environmental Sustainability. My name is Rob Bernard. I have worked at Microsoft for 11 years, and was thrilled when, a little over eight months ago, I was asked to fill a new role overseeing Microsoft’s commitment to sustaining the environment.

When I set out to write this first blog post, I thought I would talk about the overall structure of how Microsoft is thinking about environmental sustainability, or possibly present a vision of how technology can be applied to help industries that are primary contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead, I decided to focus on one thing that you can do right now in your computing environment that will have a positive environmental impact. It is so simple that I want to encourage everyone in our industry to do it now. It doesn’t require deployment of new technology. In fact, it doesn’t require technology at all, but can have major impact in the way we view our computing environment. I am asking everyone to measure the power you are using for IT.

This past week, I gave a speech in New York. In the audience were a number of CIO’s and IT professionals from some very large companies. During my presentation I asked how many people were responsible for IT. About 20 people raised their hands. I asked how many of those people actually see their energy bills. One hand went up. One hand!

The number one thing our industry needs to do is to measure our energy use . We know from surveys and discussions with IT managers that fewer than 20% of IT managers actually see the energy bills in their datacenters. Get the energy bill and look at it. Once you start measuring energy usage, you can begin managing it.

80% of our industry doesn’t have a baseline on the amount of energy they are using and the cost of that energy. In the near future, the same 80% will be scrambling to answer questions that should be known: How much energy is used to power servers and desktops? What can drive out better efficiency? How do we double our computing output over the next few years and hold our energy needs constant?

So, if I had just one request of most IT professionals it would be to start doing these things now:

  • Find your energy bill and determine how much energy you are using to power your servers, desktops, data centers
  • Begin monitoring energy usage and set reduction goals
  • Engage in simple things to reap savings:
  • Configure power management settings on desktops
  • Use easy tools like (Kill A Watt) in an office to measure energy usage for monitors, printers, etc
  • Have your facilities team power down offices at night, if employees don’t

For Microsoft, energy is just one area of interest for us. Through this blog, various team members and I want to present ideas and dive deeper into areas where the potential of software and technology can make a difference. I’m looking forward to starting a dialogue with you on the ways in which we can, together, have a positive impact on our environment.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist

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  • Hello Rob. This is great advice.

    I'll suggest we start doing this here right now.

    Please keep these good ideas coming.


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