'Green' ANZ CIO wages war on servers

ANZ CIO Peter Dalton is on a mission to remove as many as 400 servers from the bank's infrastructure by the year's end as part of its ambitious environmental targets.The technology executive has earmarked servers as a chief culprit in carbon emissions and costs, which the bank is trying to reduce in line with its target of being carbon neutral by 2009.

ANZ CIO Peter Dalton is on a mission to remove as many as 400 servers from the bank's infrastructure by the year's end as part of its ambitious environmental targets.

The technology executive has earmarked servers as a chief culprit in carbon emissions and costs, which the bank is trying to reduce in line with its target of being carbon neutral by 2009.

He told the Gartner Datacentre Summit in Sydney that he had found it "quite shocking" to learn that around half the bank's carbon emissions were the result of technology used at the organisation.

ANZ produced 176,410 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions last year, according to its own numbers.

"We have an obligation and an opportunity to take the lead in our organisations about reducing at least the IT impact on the environment that our organisations have," he said.

Server's carbon emissions, as well as electricity costs, were first recognised as the chief target for the IT department during ANZ's replacement of its Internet banking platform earlier this year.

Dalton said the platform was re-engineered to accomodate growth. Server consolidation played a big part.

"We decommissioned well over 70 servers from production in that environment. And we calculated that in that particular case the electricity and the carbon emission savings were substantial," he said.

The bank has also run other technology initiatives to cuts emissions and costs, such as switching off screensavers in its PCs in preference for energy-efficent modes.

ANZ's Internet banking project has spawned the decommissiong of servers in other parts of the bank.

"We started a series of initiatives to look at decommissioning physical servers, and where we couldn't decommission servers, to look at server virtualisation," he said.

ANZ has this year decommissioned 192 servers to date, according to Dalton.

"Annually, that will save us about AU$120,000 in electricity alone," he said. "It will also save us about 2,500 tonnes of Co2 emissions."

"We're also implementing server virtualisation and it's something that we've only just started in our organisation," Dalton said.

"We think in the next couple of years we can actually avoid implementing thousands of servers into our organisation. And for each one, there's an equivalent cost saving in electricity, as well as cooling."

Dalton expects the decommissioning of the 400 servers by the year's end to save the bank AU$250,000 in electricity alone.

ANZ is not the only major corporate to begin server consolidation as a means of reducing carbon emissions and costs. Financial services company IAG has also drastically reduced server count for environmental and cost savings reasons.