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Taking the Gray out of Green

By JimmyRay on Tue, 12/02/08 - 1:49pm.

I am out in San Jose this week taping the next TechWiseTV show. We were requested to do a show on Green. That sounded about as appealing as going to my mother in laws for a week without beer. I fought this idea hard because we already did a show on this AND I just do not see a technical angle as much as I see a political one.

Then I met Rob Aldrich.

You see I think that designing a network for maximum power efficiency is just a part of good engineering. Reducing heat in the DC is always a great idea. I love the stuff from SprayCool for water cooling CPUs like old school Crays as well as using the power management tools from Microsoft and the open source stuff from LessWatts.org. Hey I even hug up to virtualization like Jane Goodall hugs up to Gorillas. These are all critical tools for today's engineer.

The issue I have with "green" is that the cost does not equal the payoff. Green cost too much green. If I pay 30% more for a server and it take 5 years to recoup that cash, that is a bad investment. As a networking type of Dude, it is hard for me to sell a environmental idea instead of a business one to my management team no matter how strongly I feel about it.

And you know honestly, green stuff seems a little, well, too California for most networks I work on. Green has no easily measurable methods. If you don't believe me read the EPA's server study. Hey man I am a networking Dude, I work in bits, bytes and binary not watts, volts and amps. I told that to Cisco's Rob Aldrich and of course he laughed out loud! Rob is a regular guy. He eats steak, drinks beer and tells the best jokes ever.

Rob lives the green story actually relatively easy. He did not make radical changes like wearing hemp clothes, listening to the Grateful Dead and eating tofu. Rob does not even like the word green! He prefers energy efficiency and compares this to how we introduced Voice to the IP network infrastructure. Which to me made perfect sense to me. VOIP started with dial tone then it morphed into this huge collaborative monster.

Now consider that the main move to VOIP was to save money on toll charges. Now toss in energy efficiency, this is not saving a little bit of cash but a ton of it. Rob told me that with a few minor tweaks, Cisco saved 35 million bucks on its power bill in a year! I was impressed with the talk but we need to put some action behind those words for the average SMB/Commercial network today. We need benchmarking and correlation tools to help today's engineer with monitoring, planning and reporting.

This is where I end this blog like Star Wars V; The Empire Strikes Back. There is much more to the story and all your questions will be answered...tune in for TechWiseTV Episode 42 Network Energy Efficiency; The New Frontier... http://www.cisco.com/go/interact

Trivial File Transfer Protocol:
Nobody really knows the birthday of the Internet. Some say 07April 1969 because of the RFC standards, yet others say 01 January 1983 because the NSF network became operational, other claim that it goes back as far as 1961 when Dr. Leonard Kleinrock published a paper on packet switching.

Jimmy Ray