Eco-responsibility Innovation of the Year

Winner – Hitachi Data Systems

Hitachi has a long history of producing environmental responsible technology. Since 1999, the Japanese company has subjected all of its products to ‘Design for Environment Assessment’, which means that they do not enter the manufacturing process unless they have met a set of stringent criteria.

According to Alec Selvon-Bruce, EMEA Eco-Solutions Champion at Hitachi Data Systems, the company’s Adaptable Modular Storage 2500 storage system takes that environmental policy to the next level: as well as delivering one of the most advanced storage environments in the industry, it stands out in that it qualifies for the Hitachi category “Super-eco product”.

That has been achieved by ensuring the product’s life cycle has a minimum environmental impact.

A big challenge for most IT organisations today is adding more storage capacity to their data centres, which in many cases are already short of power. By using energy management software, the AMS 2500 can achieve a low watts/gigabyte ratio of 0.11.

The power-saving software controlled also enables discs to run at idle until they are needed, again saving substantial power and money. “What it offers is real enterprise capability without compromising on energy efficiency,” says Selvon-Bruce.

But HDS measures the environmental aspects of the product in terms of its total carbon emissions – in its creation and distribution as well as its use.

“Our corporate and government customers want assurances of efficiency and the extended life cycle of the product,” says Selvon-Bruce. “So when we look at the distribution of a product to market we consider all the criteria in the life cycle: R&D, production, manufacturing, transportation and recycleability.”

For example, Hitachi elected to manufacture the AMS 2500 with lead-free soldering; and transportation of systems to European customers is minimised by manufacturing in France, assembling in Holland.

That gives HDS the confidence to promote the AMS 2500 as an eco-product in a market where many Green IT claims do not stand up to scrutiny.

“Visibility and control over the total emissions has become a key feature for our customers,” says Selvon-Bruce.

And that was enough for many Information Age readers to deem the product Eco-responsibility Innovation of the Year.

Runner-up – Bell Microsystems

With its clients facing greater environmental regulations – as well as pressure to cut energy costs – Bell Microsystems leveraged its unique blend of life cycle management services evolved over a decade, to deliver a sound environmental best practice methodology.

The experience of one customer sums that up. Rightmove, the property website, needed to cut power consumption and reduce data centre equipment footprint. Applying its IT Lifecycle Methodology, Bell evaluated the suitability of existing equipment, measured its carbon emissions and proposed an overhaul across Rightmove’s three data centres.

The upshot was a saving of 92% in power and 95% in its rack space usage, while delivering four times the computing power of the existing equipment. That equated to saving 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annual for every six web servers replaced, making Bell a worthy runner-up for the Eco-Responsibility Innovation Award.

David Cliff

David Cliff is managing director of Houghton le Spring-based Gedanken, a company specialising in coaching-based support and personal development. Cliff is an experienced trainer, manager and therapist,...

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