Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Pizza boxes to washing machines

Odd day today - was due to give a presentation to our Executive Board about challenges for us and the University, but got rescheduled at last minute. Knew I should have spent last night in the garden rather than putting the finishing touches to my talk! Hopefully will get my chance in a couple of weeks.

Then the CiCS Exec had one of our regular weekly meetings, where we spent a lot of time talking about how we cost our services. Lots of good work done by one of our Section Heads, and we have some preliminary costings. Still some work to do in refining it, but a good start. We've gone for a top down approach rather than bottom up - that means rather than taking every little discrete unit of cost and aggregating them up for different services, we focus on the major items of expenditure (such as staffing), and allocate as much as possible to the different services, whilst using a more generic method for the smaller items. Some interesting findings so far - we don't spend a lot on supporting research for example, but we do spend a lot on our back-end systems. Will be interesting to see what the final figures look like, and how they will feed in to our planning process.

Later this afternoon I had a meeting of the heads of administrative departments where we had a quick look at what the budget might mean for us (not good!), and a presentation about the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health's strategic plan.

Finally we had an update about the University's carbon emission reduction programme. We all know we have to reduce our carbon emissions by 34% by 2020, but that reduction is on our 1990 baseline. That's equivalent to a 48% reduction on the 2005 baseline. Huge task. Biggest target is power usage. Just over 11% of the total power usage of the University can be attributed to IT, so we have a significant role to play. One of the areas which has seen some of the best results is server virtualisation. I was going to mention this in my UEB talk today. I don't expect them to be interested in the technology of moving from one server type to another (pizza boxes to washing machines in my simple terms):

but they should be interested in these figures:

Then - 130 servers, 5 year energy cost of £567,047
Now - 4 servers, 5 year energy cost of £130, 478

Some very good work, and great savings.

1 comment:

Andrew Horne said...

Some further info, the figures above are taken from the HP intel/amd architecture environment, the Sun Solaris architecture servers depicted also run a form of virtualisation that has made positive savings.