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Raytheon: Boosting data center temperatures cuts energy use by 30%

Developing best practices across the organization, ranked No. 10, has helped this defense contractor slash power consumption.

By Mary K. Pratt
October 24, 2011 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - As the IT sustainability program lead at Raytheon, Brian Moore says he saw a chance to learn from the company's past successes to find ways to deliver even more results.

For Moore and his colleagues in IT, that meant taking cues from Raytheon's efforts to improve data center energy efficiency and applying those steps to other areas. Toward that end, the IT team has focused on the company's networking and telecommunications infrastructure for the past year.

"The corporate network guys run the wide-area network and the backbone, so they can do it top-down, focusing on the design of the gear," he says.

Moore says Raytheon, a defense and aerospace company based in Waltham, Mass., has also spent the past year building up its cloud computing capabilities -- leading to a reduction in hardware requirements and therefore energy needs -- as well as replacing older equipment with new, highly energy-efficient machines. The company is still calculating how much energy will be saved. "We think it's going to add up," he says.

Similarly, systems engineer Clark H. Young, IT sustainability lead for Raytheon Missile Systems, says he and his colleagues are building on the data center's use of hot and cold rows and virtualization to drive down energy consumption elsewhere.

Green Tomorrow

"IT will continue to lead the company in reductions to our own footprint, but the largest opportunities lie outside IT," says Raytheon CIO Rebecca Rhoads. "We are partnering with other enterprise functions on secure, smart buildings; energy and water management systems; carbon emissions reporting; and other efficiencies."

In a successful test of an energy-saving strategy in 16 of the 150 telecommunications closets at the Tucson, Ariz., campus, he says, IT cut energy use in each closet by 30% when it raised the temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees -- well within the range that vendors recommend.

Now IT is looking at ways to better vent hot air and, when space allows, establish hot and cold aisles to further cut back on cooling needs, Young says.

Meanwhile, he adds, IT is continuing to virtualize servers. As of the end of 2010, this work yielded $23 million in annual savings.

Next: No. 11: Prudential moves 1,000 servers into a virtual environment

Read more about Data Center in Computerworld's Data Center Topic Center.

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