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World's growing IT industry must not deplete the planet's resources

PUBLISH DATE 2nd November 2017

Our world today is wit nessing rapid changes in the way we live. This pace is mostly because of pace is mostly because of fast-spread ing technolo gy , particular ly informa tion and com munications.

As we progress, we will have to add electricity and bandwidth to the essentials' list along with food, shelter and clothing.

We need to understand that both are not free gifts, and need lots of energy .Come summer and we will start feeling the impact of that energy use. So, this is the time to approach power consumption with some common sense.

Computers, IT-related machinery and gadgets require a lot of power. Millions of servers are kept turned on, 24x7, around the world.These servers -the primary feeders of all the data we consume daily -use electricity and generate a lot of heat.Which is why they are also the biggest consumers of airconditioning.

Regular computer users are aware of the power man agement options available with each desktop or laptop.We can make good use of those options and manage the energy these devices consume. Surprisingly , servers at several data centres do not have that energy-saving option. The server stays on -it doesn't matter if there's no workload or not.

But energy-management software are being created and these digital handlers are helping keep servers within power-consumption parametres by appropriate division of computing labour. Simply put, servers are told to consume less power whenever the workload reduces. The weekends could end up cheaper. We can also use simple measures such as storing important parts of data on a `mirrored double disk' and taking backups on high-capacity SATA harddrives. This step will ensure efficiency in data use and a whopping 80% increase in storage space. That giant electricity bill too can be cut in half. I previously men tioned desktop power management. There are ways to ensure screens go off after a few minutes of idling. Movement of the mouse or a press on the keyboard bring them back on again. Domestic users have had this luxury for a while but the commercial sector has recently begun to implement this ability -it has been showing good results. IT firms that had never thought of a power consumption policy are seeing savings of 40% on power bills.

Now, let us look at data centres. The estimated spend on electricity at any data centre is more than 50% of the total cost of a data centre. It is possible to reduce the overall cost of air conditioning by redirecting the draught of cold air and making the most of it... cooling only what's required and more importantly, by using the natural temperature wisely.

Thousands of units of electricity is saved by using the breeze. This natural cooling source is then tapped to augment artificial cooling technologies within data centres Green IT means environment-friendly IT. These principles will allow our technological prowess to grow without depleting all of the planet's resources.

The writer is an IT entrepreneur and a digital literacy activist

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