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Barclays, Sun Life Financial Win Third Annual Server Roundup
serverroundup2Comatose IT equipment is hiding in plain sight within even the most sophisticated IT organizations. The severs, abandoned by application owners and users but still racked and running, represent a double threat in terms of energy waste -- squandering power at the plug, but also wasting data center facility power and capacity.

"Comatose servers are like weeds in a garden -- rampant, insidious -- and abatement is an ongoing responsibility," said Matt Stansberry, Uptime Institute Director of Content and Publications. "This is why Uptime Institute challenged companies around the globe to help address and solve the problem of comatose servers by participating in the Server Roundup, an initiative to promote IT and Facilities integration and improve IT efficiency.

"The Server Roundup honorees are leading their peers in the industry on the issue of reducing data center resource consumption, and their lessons learned are highly transferable to the industry at large."

Uptime Institute will recognize these companies at Symposium 2014 with the Server Roundup Awards Showcase, and winners Barclays and Sun Life Financial will present their case studies:
  • Sun Life Server Roundup Award Case Study, May 21, 2:15-2:45 p.m.
  • Barclays Keynote: Discipline in Decommissioning, May 21, 4:15-4:40 p.m. 
View the Symposium 2014 schedule here

Barclays Removes 9,000 Servers and Saves $6M
Barclays removed 9,124 physical servers in 2013 alone. This was the financial organization's most successful year yet in terms of server decommissioning across its global portfolio. Barclays is also closely scrutinizing server replacement, ensuring that stranded or low-utilization assets are minimized.

"We are seeing reductions in power, cooling, rack space, and network port utilization -- all of this while our usable compute footprint goes up, giving us the room to continue to grow the business," said Paul Nally, Director at Barclays. 

The company's efforts resulted in:
  • 2.5 megawatts of power savings  
  • A $4.5M reduction in the power bill 
  • $1.3M on legacy hardware maintenance costs
  • 588 server racks, more than 20,000 network ports, and 3,000 SAN ports freed up
  • lower overall carbon footprint 
"Increasing reliance on internal virtual private cloud technologies has allowed us to continue to remove physical servers from the environment, resulting in significant savings and reduced environmental impact," said Ian Penny, Global Head of Distributed Technologies at Barclays. "As we deploy our next generation cloud platforms and start to leverage hybrid resource models, we expect this trend to continue."

Barclays was a Sever Roundup winner in 2012, removing 5,515 obsolete servers, with power savings of 3 megawatts, and $3.4M annualized savings for power, and a further $800K savings in hardware maintenance.

In 2 years, Barclays has removed nearly 15,000 servers.

Sun Life Reclaims Data Center Space and Cuts Energy Costs
Sun Life Financial, the second winner, retired 441 servers from its data center in 2013, replacing 54 of those with newer, more efficient models, while converting 75 to virtual servers. 

In total, Sun Life's server roundup is expected to:
  • Save approximately 115 kW in electricity consumption
  • Lower energy costs by an estimated $100K
  • Reclaim valuable space in the data center
"After being a finalist in last year's Server Roundup, Sun Life Financial is honored to step up on to the podium again this year," said Rocco Alonzi, Assistant VP, Data Centre Governance, at Sun Life. "The yearly competition has helped us implement a process that's sustainable, easily repeatable, and aligns with our overall data center program. The ongoing removal and recycling of equipment helps reduce energy consumption and minimize the environmental impact from our data center. It's a win-win for us."

Finalist CoreSpace Decommissions Legacy Servers and Outdated UPS System
In 2011, the hosting company acquired a 30,000 square foot data center facility in Dallas, Texas.  As part of this acquisition, CoreSpace inherited hundreds of legacy “white box” servers and over 230 rack-mounted, single-phase distributed UPS units.  After running power/cost calculations CoreSpace quickly realized that it had a strong ROI to install new, more efficient servers and a centralized UPS system.

Corespace decommissioned and recycled the entire decentralized UPS system as well as 326 legacy servers, resulting in:
  • Lower costs by more than $100K annually
  • Savings due to eliminating the cooling costs of managing the more than 345,000 BTUs produced by the 230 single-phase UPS units and legacy servers 
"Power efficiency is a critical factor in controlling the operational expenses in our data centers," said Liana Dunlap, President and CEO of CoreSpace. "The implementation of our new centralized UPS system and more power-efficient servers has dramatically reduced our overall power usage, significantly cutting our power costs and providing savings we can pass directly to our customers. Also, as a full-service data center and hosting provider, availability is a vital performance measurement for us. Since installing the centralized UPS system, we are able to deliver higher levels of service and support for our customers."

Since launching this contest in 2011, participants in Uptime Institute's Server Roundup competition have removed 40,000 physical units of obsolete server hardware.

Challenges Facing the Data Center Industry
serverroundup2014Unfortunately, many organizations are not able to deal with comatose servers for two reasons.
  • The first is risk aversion -- in a complex, heterogeneous IT environment, unplugging servers and moving IT services can have an impact on application availability.
  • The second and more important issue is that IT departments are not incentivized to undertake the efforts to improve efficiency. 
For several years now, Uptime Institute has tracked which department in a data center organization pays the power bill, and 80% of the time it’s the facilities managers or corporate real estate. Many IT teams don’t feel the pain from high energy costs, and don’t reap the rewards from energy savings. 

There has been little incentive to assess existing IT assets to make operations more efficient. And yet, that is where the next advances in data center efficiency will have to take place, which is why the winners of the Server Roundup have done such exemplary work. 

As early as 2006, Uptime Institute Founder Ken Brill identified comatose servers as one of the biggest opportunities for companies to improve overall IT energy efficiency. Mr. Brill advocated for industry action on this issue, but he often cautioned, "Nobody gets promoted for going around in the data center and unplugging servers." Mr. Brill meant that data center professionals had no incentive to remove comatose machines and that IT executives lacked insight into the impact that idle IT equipment was having on the cost structures of their organizations, as their departments do not pay the data center power bill.

The corporate disconnect between IT and Facilities Operations continues to challenge the data center industry. Data center managers need to overcome that organizational barrier and take lessons from these leaders in the industry. 

Congratulations to these companies on their initiative, commitment, and their willingness to share the lessons learned.

Interested in next year's contest? Email Uptime Institute’s  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for a Server Roundup starter kit, or to send any comments, questions, or cowboy jokes. Thanks for your interest. Hike up your Wranglers, unhitch your horses, and get to work!

Past Server Roundup Winners

Since the contest’s launch two years ago, Server Roundup participants have decommissioned and recycled 30,000 units of obsolete IT equipment. In 2012, Uptime Institute named AOL and NBC Universal as the inaugural Server Roundup champions. AOL had removed nearly 10,000 obsolete servers, and NBC Universal culled 1,090 comatose machines, representing 29% of its overall IT footprint.

The following year’s results were even more impressive.

Server Roundup 2013 Winners and Finalists
AOL won back-­‐to-­‐back years for overall tally of servers removed. The global Web services company decommissioned 8,253 servers in calendar year 2012. This resulted in (gross) total savings of almost $3 million from reduced utility costs, maintenance and recovery of asset resale/scrap. Environmental benefits were seen in the reduction of more than 16,000 tons of carbon emissions, according to AOL.
Barclays, a global financial organization, removed 5,515 obsolete servers in 2012, with power savings of around three megawatts, and $3.4 million annualized savings for power, and a further $800K savings in hardware maintenance.
TD Bank removed 513 servers in 2012. The team from this Canadian financial firm removed 2,941 units in the five years they've been working to remove obsolete machines from the raised floor.  Although the TD Bank annual server count does not approach those impressive numbers put up by AOL, the organization makes up for it in volume of waste that it diverts from local and municipal waste sites. All of the equipment that was sent through the E‐Waste recycler is salvaged within a 110-mile radius from TD Bank’s primary data centers. Nothing is shipped overseas for processing.
McKesson pulled 586 servers in 2012, reducing data center power usage by 931.7 kW and saving $734,550.
Sun Life Financial removed 387 servers in 2012, which resulted in 32 kW of power savings across three data centers and financial savings of $8,800 per month.
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