Baker Hughes: Wake-on-LAN technology cuts energy use

Green-IT initiatives are part and parcel of this No. 6-ranked energy company's IT strategy.

Baker Hughes, a provider of oil and gas services, has made energy consumption a major factor in its decision-making processes.

The company's green-IT strategy consists of four major components: awareness (measuring and reviewing energy consumption), planning (exploring opportunities to reduce energy consumption and environmental waste for each new investment), harvesting (reviewing current practices for opportunities to save money through conservation), and prevention (looking at current practices and taking proactive steps to avoid unnecessary increases in power consumption or the introduction of environmental waste).

"We consider the energy and other environmental impacts of our projects and seek ways to reduce the impact," says Clif Triplett, vice president and CIO at the Houston-based company.

Energy reduction is woven into Baker Hughes' internal IT strategies, and energy management is a key part of all standard operating practices, project architectures and design reviews. "Success in energy management is celebrated and discussed with the entire organization," says Triplett.

Baker Hughes created a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster that incorporates wake-on-LAN technology. In this environment, machines are turned on -- or "woken up" -- via a network message, and the company can wake up machines for use in the HPC cluster as needed. This setup uses 40% less energy than a dedicated HPC pool.

In its infrastructure operations, the company is committed to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework for operations and has developed an internal assessment program for compliance and best practices identification. The program, built on the ITIL framework, was expanded to include a dedicated section on green best practices that pertain to energy consumption and the handling and minimization of waste, Triplett says.

Baker Hughes is making a big push toward cloud computing and specifically infrastructure as a service, which is expected to contribute to additional energy savings. It's also rolling out managed print services globally and removing personal printers and fax machines from offices, replacing them with energy-efficient multifunction devices, says Graham Crisp, director of IT supplier and asset management at the company.

Among those driving green efforts at Baker Hughes are the CEO and chief operating officer. "They set the tone from the top," Triplett says. "They are strong advocates of protecting the environment and supportive of investments that focus on energy consumption and waste mitigation."

Others who are heavily involved include Triplett, who drives the green culture into the daily work practices of the IT organization; the vice president of health, safety and environment, who provides strong support and awareness of activities that advance the commitment to the health and safety of employees and the environment; and product-line general managers.

Next: No. 7: Northrop Grumman virtualizes or retires approximately 3,000 servers

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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