Last month in Enriching Communications
, Alcatel-Lucent's online publication, the company highlighted its growing focus on Green IT with a series of articles on the benefits of eco-sustainability and the role the telecom sector can and should play in helping reduce global carbon emissions and energy consumption.
But, just as reducing the environmental impact of technology will not happen overnight, the discussion around how to best achieve such goals and who should lead the charge is not a one-time conversation. As such, in the January issue
, editor-in-chief Ruth Killeen has put together another series of articles to further explore how the ICT sector can drive eco-sustainability not only within its own markets but, ultimately, on a much broader scale across global technology markets.
A few weeks ago, Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs announced its Green Touch Initiative
, a new global consortium that will look at network energy consumption from a new angle. Specifically, while traditional Green IT projects have focused on how to reduce energy consumption of existing network infrastructure components, Bell Labs is looking to drive network technology and its energy consumption from a new base: the absolute minimum energy required to run a network.
It's research has shown that today's networks consume as much as 10,000 times the minimum energy required, and the Green Touch Initiative seeks to create networks that are at least 1,000 times more efficient
than today's, taking into account there must be some balance between energy consumption and network efficiency - user requirements demand a balance.
In this article, Dr. Jeong Kim, Executive Vice President of Alcatel-Lucent and President of Bell Labs, explains that in order to implement real change in the environmental impact of networks, the industry must take radical measures, anything less than which will likely result in minimal, if any, impact. His article discusses how Bell Labs came to its theoretical limits for network energy consumption and its plans, through Green Touch, to implement plans that will bring real change to ICT energy utilization.
Just as the Green Touch Initiative seeks to create highly energy-efficient networks of the future, creating sustainable cities requires foresight today to begin implementing technologies and policies that will lay the foundation for urban developments tomorrow.
Alan Marcus, Sr. Director and Head of IT and Telecommunications Industries, World Economic Forum, explains that, "Service providers need to act now to contribute to the new wave of thinking for urban development."
This required a fundamental shift in thinking, away from individual entities and technologies, to an understanding that long-term sustainability is the burden of the entire value chain. However, any sustained initiative requires leadership, and Marcus argues that the ICT sector is better positioned to drive the eco-sustainability movement than any other.
"Enhanced communication and related applications -- from smart metering to high-speed mobile broadband networks like LTE and WiMAX -- offer the kind of efficiencies and social cohesion that will drive the new urban environment," he says.
Alcatel-Lucent has been promoting its vision for application enablement through high leverage networks for some time, and Gary Holland, Director of Portfolio Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent, notes that high leverage networks
- which are designed to provide scalability and flexibility in both access and transport layers, and integrate service and application awareness, QoS, and traffic optimization into the network - are also ideally suited to drive end-to-end sustainability in networks.
Because of their increased end-to-end efficiency, HLNs require fewer network devices to produce results, reducing power and cooling requirements and reducing operators' physical and carbon footprints.
"The HLN has an intelligent and integrated approach to converged service control, with more capacity on a smaller footprint... For example, today's IMS solution takes up 96% less space and uses 91% less power than TDM solutions of only a decade ago," explains Holland.
Holland's article details how HLNs can be deployed to produce significant reductions in energy utilization and greenhouse gas emissions - up to a savings of 1.1 million kilowatt-hours in the fifth year, a reduction in emissions of 566 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which he says is "comparable to driving 1.6 million kilometers in an economy class car."
In addition to a growing social awareness of the need for greener technology, the recent economic downturn drove many businesses to hasten their sustainability initiatives. For instance, Hewlett-Packard and Alcatel-Lucent have agreed a decade-long alliance to provide education via practical experience on how to create eco-sustainable operations.
Engelina Jaspers, Vice President, Environmental Sustainability, Hewlett-Packard and Richard Goode, Director of Sustainability, Alcatel-Lucent, look at how the two firms are collaborating to bring viable solutions to the service provider and enterprise communities. Perhaps the most significant revelation is that working alone, businesses can only achieve limited success in their green initiatives. By partnering with other industry leaders, however, they have the ability to exponentially increase the impact of their efforts.
Through this alliance, Alcatel-Lucent has set a goal to cut its own carbon footprint half from its 2008 baseline by 2020, and HP has re-evaluated its original target and it now looking to reduce its carbon emissions to 40 percent of its 2005 levels by 2011.
With the exponential growth in application, services, and content delivered across today's IP-based networks, the data center has become perhaps the most critical strategic asset for service providers, network operators, and even enterprises. As such the cooling systems required to maintain acceptable temperature levels - and the costs associated with them - have become a key focus of strategic planning discussions.
The fact, as Peter Hayden, Sustainable Power Services and B. Scofield, Technical Project Engineering; Alcatel-Lucent, note, is that conventional cooling solutions are, at best, inefficient, and more often, insufficient.
There is, therefore, a clear need for new and innovative methods for keeping cool air in data centers - specifically, where servers, switches, and storage devices dissipate the most heat. This article discusses means by which data center operators can achieve optimal cooling efficiency while reducing operational cost and without reducing data center reliability, including modular cooling, which "can be deployed in data centers with no physical changes to the present data center configuration."