Energy efficiency is intertwined with the way the entire organization operates, says Peter Kendall, Earth Rangers' executive director. Each department has a green team, which reports on its activities at a monthly management team meeting. "If the organization doesn't make energy efficiency a priority, it will never happen," Kendall says. "It has to be supported by everyone and driven by the top."
Earth Rangers: Greens up with virtualization, plus geothermal power
Ranked No. 4, this nonprofit's virtualized data center and geothermal plant fit with its environmental mission.
Computerworld - "Bring Back the Wild" -- that's the mission of Earth Rangers, an innovative nonprofit organization that works to educate kids about environmental threats. Its goal is to inspire kids -- the "chief inheritors of environmental destruction," as its Web site says -- to become a powerful part of the solution by working to protect endangered species and their habitats.
Because the organization is asking kids to reduce their own personal consumption, it's important to lead by example, says Peter Kendall, executive director of the Toronto-based organization. So in 2008, when Earth Rangers needed to increase its computing infrastructure to support its planned global expansion beyond Ontario, it knew it had to be energy-efficient.
"We had to look at how to increase our infrastructure while also reducing our energy footprint, so that we're demonstrating our commitment to the kids we deal with," Kendall says.
The result: a highly virtualized data center, housed in a LEED Gold-certified building, that eliminates 90% of the hardware and nearly 85% of the energy costs that a conventional server deployment would require.
"Earth Rangers is interesting because it demonstrates starkly that 'big green advances' are not the sole remit of big organizations," says Mark Peters, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. "In 100 square feet, and with only 10% of a traditional hardware approach, its achievements and technologies are up there with the most advanced of the megacorporations."
Earth Rangers spent months researching the most power-efficient equipment from the most environmentally conscious companies, according to Rob Di Stefano, IT systems director. The implementation included a RAM-intensive blade server system from Dell that reduced the organization's previous eight physical servers to three physical M600 blade servers running 64 virtual servers.
In the future, Earth Rangers expects to benefit from a 40-well geothermal plant it is building to heat and cool the facility, as well as another solar array.
To reach its goal of cutting energy use 20% annually, it has invested in technology that tracks energy usage throughout the facility. "We can't meet our goal without that fine control," says Kendall.
Brandel is a Computerworld contributing writer. You can contact her at email@example.com.
More on Top Green-IT
Read more about Data Center in Computerworld's Data Center Topic Center.
- Datacenter eGuide Read on to learn what technologies are essential for high-performing data centers today, and to get a glimpse of what the data center...
- Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Case Study: AMAG Pharmaceuticals As an IT pioneer in the pharmaceuticals industry, AMAG realized that SaaS backup and recovery would give them the confidence to fully embrace...
- Workload Change: The 70 Percent of Your Business DevOps Forgot Adding WLA early in the development process ensures that the benefits of DevOps accrue for all applications, including your batch services. This paper...
- Oracle EBS and RAC Performance & Elasticity on Vblock™ Systems VCE Vblock™ Systems provide simple, low-risk solutions for migrating from a physical to virtual environment.
- The Key to Happiness: Throw out Your Data Warehouse In this webinar, Kerry Reitnauer, Director, Solution Architect at FairPoint Communications will discuss the challenges the data warehouse brought, how they migrated to...
- Building Tomorrow's Data Center with Converged Technologies A number of forces are converging: the cloud, converged infrastructure, big data and fabric architectures to name a few. All Data Center White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!