Sustainability is back on the agenda

Sustainability is back on the agenda

green-step-sustainability-blog-hero-bannerIt’s been quite a while since my last blog, I’ve been pretty busy at work and have been keeping abreast with the latest in analytics, machine learning and AI technologies. There has been a pretty big resurgence in the world of sustainability, especially in the data center sector. Initially I was a little surprised but there’s more substance to the movement compared to the pre-2009 economic crash that pretty much killed sustainability and green initiatives as a board level issue.

Before the last recession the green movement in the data center sector had gathered quite some pace. There was a lot of good work done by the BCS, Green Grid, EPA, LBNL, METI and others around metrics and tracking of how green a data center was. Indeed, it was this very movement that gave birth to the J.R.R Tolkien of metrics, PUE - one ring/metric to rule them all…get it?

Even way back then, when I was chairman of the BCS Data Center Specialist Group, raising awareness of data center energy efficiency (or lack thereof) was best done by talking to environmental lobbyists.

Greenpeace started its Click Green Report back in 2010, naming and shaming companies for how green their data centers weren’t. The Click Green program initially examined energy efficiency in the data center but has evolved to encompass a much broader scope since then.

When the global economic downturn descended upon us most of the less publicly visible corporate world (which back then included most data center companies) put green on the back burner and focused on saving money instead.

I have to say that this always seemed an unwise move to me because in most cases any green initiative worth its salt, especially in the energy efficiency arena, should have a good financial ROI and not just a green brownie points ROI’. The issue was that many didn’t have the tools, context or knowledge to assess and build strong green and financial business cases that could stand up to scrutiny or any sort of third party validation.

Thus I was very happy this year when my conversations with both customers and other industry pundits once again started to include discussions about the green, now referred to more often as sustainability, agenda. I prefer the term sustainability as it is much more encompassing of the broader agenda beyond energy efficiency, such as water consumption, embodied carbon, sustainable construction practices, etc.

Before everyone jumps back on the ‘we need more metrics’ bandwagon, let me say, no we don’t! Stop, put down the white paper draft on the new 'super all-encompassing one sustainable metric to rule them all’! Please just keep it simple and collect, track and analyse data indicating your energy efficiency, carbon emissions (this is a calculation from energy), water consumption and you’ll be well on your way to improving your data center’s sustainability efforts.

Oh and by the way, remember that simply believing raw data from sensors and instrumentation points is not an accurate representation of what’s going on (trust me, we clean and validate data for a living). If you are a service provider, not being able to allocate the fair-share of your overall carbon emissions to your customers is less than ideal.

Sustainability is a board level issue again and claiming your IT is zero carbon because it’s all in the cloud is not going to cut it as far as brand value is concerned, at least in the public’s eyes.

Zahl Limbulwala, Romonet CEO

Romonet Wins Award: Improving the CSR Impact of Data Centers with Predictive Analytics

Romonet Wins Award: Improving the CSR Impact of Data Centers with Predictive Analytics

splashing-splash-aqua-water-67843Over 600 corporate executives, policymakers and green campaigners saw Romonet win IT Project of the Year at the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards. The judges praised Romonet and its customers for their progress in helping improve the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of global data centers.

“The outcomes of a positive CSR profile are many - tangible benefits to the environment, improved public image and competitive positioning, and when Romonet’s Platform is used, large scale cost efficiencies. Many companies have already invested in the latest analytics tools to increase business efficiency, and we are encouraged that many more are taking action in this key area,” said Zahl Limbuwala, Romonet’s CEO.

Romonet offers the world’s only predictive analytics platform capable of modeling, simulating, analyzing and controlling operational and financial performance within the data center. Data centers are one of the most costly and potentially harmful business units within any large organization but now, as analytics applications have done in other areas of business, their financial and operational risks can be removed using Romonet.

This award win accompanied Romonet announcing it is launching new Machine Learning capabilities to further enhance the value of its solution. The speed at which business results are attainable was another deciding factor for the judges. As a recent case study highlighted, return on investment is achievable in several weeks.

Predictive Analytics is proving to be a key application for mitigating the risks associated with CSR and the data center – these include postponed capital investment, shareholder value being questioned, and reduced corporate profitability when customers choose competitor services on sustainability grounds.

An example is Apple’s $950million, 500-acre Irish data campus. The facilities are being debated due to power requirements, land use and the effect on local wildlife. CSR is a key consideration within each of these factors and businesses using Romonet can demonstrate the positive action they are taking.

“We are working with international leaders across online retail, social media, banking and IT service providers, all of which recognize the influence CSR has on competitive positioning. More importantly, they know how to succeed in today’s environmentally-conscious economy where business processes and investments are under scrutiny,” concluded Limbuwala.