In these times of economic stagnation, IT leaders’ attention turns to cost savings. Indeed in times like these, the CFO is likely exerting strong authority and demanding budget concessions from departments across the enterprise.
Many companies are aggressively consolidating data centers as one way to address this demand. There are a number of significant cost savings opportunities with data center consolidation, in spite of the complexity involved in successfully executing a consolidation plan. Many of those, in turn, come from savings due to increased efficiencies of operation as compared to the pre-consolidated state of affairs. In particular, we’re talking about efficiencies from removing redundancy of maintenance costs, and centralized control of operational and support expenses.
Forrester came up with the term “MOOSE” to represent the combined categories of cost to maintain and operate the enterprise. I’m unsure about the exact wording comprising the acronym. I’ve seen Maintain and Operate the Organization, Systems and Equipment.¬† I’ve also seen Maintenance, Operation, and Ongoing Support Expenses. It’s clear what we mean here, regardless of the exact assembly of words for the acronym. Companies have their own tribal terms for this too. I’ve seen firms simply call it Keeping-The-Lights-On (simple enough), and one that uses “Ready To Serve” (must be some history there). …‚But we digress. I like the MOOSE term and its analogy when talking about IT Governance.
The MOOSE often represents as much as 70% of the IT spend. This is a fact that those of us responsible for IT Governance joust with on a daily basis. MOOSE costs are usually very difficult to trim. It’s probably safe to say also, that a lot of your MOOSE lives in the data center. Painting your MOOSE green is one way to positively impact this problem (so we’ve managed to bring the conversation back around now). By “painting green” we of course mean addressing energy efficiency, carbon footprint, and sustainability of resources consumed in conducting operations.
Consider a few energy efficiency data points:
- On average, electricity costs are over 40% of data center operational expenses.
- The cost to power a typical server exceeds the cost to buy it, when viewed over a three-year horizon.
- On average, less than 50% of the air in a chilled-air data center actually makes it to the IT equipment
Consider a few security risk data points:
- Emerging carbon footprint regulations will expose companies to financial penalties for violating energy efficiency thresholds
- Emerging carbon footprint regulations are likely to impose consumption caps on local access to public utilities
- Customer service level agreements can be exposed to limitations on energy consumption or resource availability
- Newly imposed water consumption restrictions may limit enterprise IT growth or force investment in alternative MEP technologies
If you’re not saying, “yeah,… I know all that already” then these are issues that very soon will come to your attention. This is a wave that’s gaining momentum and has entered the daily dialogue in data center operations and planning.¬† The good part of this is that because there’s so much discussion around this topic, there are lots of good sources from which to draw information.
We (in my practice at this company) have been working on a Green Maturity Model for data centers. I’ll share progress on this in a separate post, but suffice to say that any given organization is going to be at some level of the green maturity curve. Wherever your organization happens to be in this regard, our current soft economic climate is likely to stir the call of the MOOSE. MOOSE are difficult to control, and embarking on a plan to turn your MOOSE green may be a way to answer the call.