Dr. Pethuru Raj has been working as a TOGAF-certified enterprise architecture (EA) consultant in Wipro Technologies, Bangalore. On the educational front, armed with the competitive UGC research fellowship, he could proceed with his research activities and was awarded the prestigious PhD degree by Anna University, Chennai, India. He then could acquire the meritorious CSIR fellowship to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Computer Science and Automation (CSA), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Thereafter, he was granted a couple of international research fellowships (JSPS and JST) to work as a research scientist for 3 years in two leading Japanese universities. Dr. Raj also had a fruitful stint as a lead architect in the corporate research (CR) division of Robert Bosch, India, for 1.5 years.
Dr. Raj has more than 12 years of IT industry experience. Primarily, he has been a technical architect and currently he is providing technology advisory services for worldwide business behemoths on the transformation capabilities of enterprise architecture (EA) in synchronization with some of the emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) / Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) / Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Integration, Big Data, Cloud and Service Computing paradigms, Real-time Analytics of Big data using Cloud-based NoSQL databases, Hadoop framework, etc. and Mobility. He has made use of the opportunities that came on his way to focus on a few business domains, including telecommunication, retail, government, energy, and health care.
Dr. Raj has contributed book chapters for a number of technology books that were edited by internationally acclaimed professors and published by leading publishing houses. Currently he is writing a comprehensive book with the title "The Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies for the Envisioned Smarter Planet" for a world-leading book house. The CRC Press, USA has just released his book on "Cloud Enterprise Architecture" and you can find the book details in the page http://www.peterindia.net/peterbook.html
A Perspective of Green IT Technologies Published: January 14, 2013 • Service Technology Magazine Issue LXIX PDF
Abstract - Governments and organizations worldwide are researching greener technologies, techniques, and tips in order to reduce rising energy costs and achieve environmental sustainability. With IT positioned as an effective business enabler, organizations have to allocate higher budgets to meet the rising capital and operational costs of IT centers to support and sustain business operations, outputs, and offerings. However, data centers were found to require enormous amounts of energy. Green IT products, processes, platforms, and practices are being developed to significantly reduce data center power consumption.
Global entrepreneurs and executives are enthusiastic that global warming and environmental degradation can be remedied through a host of greener and cleaner technology solutions and services. Serious endeavours are being initiated by green-centric professionals to develop robust energy conservation and harvesting processes. Powerful potential IT infrastructural, architectural, and technological innovations that can enable greener environments are discussed in this article.
Key Words: The Internet of Energy (IOE), Smart Meters and Grids, Green Computing, Grid Computing, Cloud Computing, SOA, and Virtualisation
IT consumes a lot of energy, especially data centers where all kinds of IT resources, like high-end servers and storage networks, cooling facilities, that are consumed by organizations are maintained. A growing family of business services and data are systematically hosted, persisted, administered, and maintained in data centers, which consume tremendous amounts of electricity, which is greatly expensive. Green technologies that can produce green-aware IT infrastructures, platforms and applications are being demanded. Global green experts believe that IT-based solutions can be helpful in preserving electricity and considerably reducing the heat dissipation into the environment. Every tangible component of IT systems and software is now subject to energy consumption testing. Some of the several green technologies and processes that can help fight climate change and assist in environment sustainability and stability are explored and described in this paper.
The Brewing and Blossoming Trends in the IT Space
IT is being positioned as the leading business automation and augmentation enabler, as IT processes, technologies, architectures, and infrastructures collectively play a very pivotal role in business optimization.
A number of worthwhile IT developments are being initiated to streamline and simplify a variety of business and human tasks.
The Fast-Expanding IT Ecosystem
The Device Ecosystem
Issues of heterogeneity, multiplicity, and incompatibility are introduced when the mainframe centralized PC transitions to decentralized mobile devices. A range of devices need to be individually as well as collectively provided with a connection and access to one another. There is potential for risky interactions among different devices, which threatens the security and privacy of individuals and organizations alike.
An important aspect of the shift towards decentralization is external integration with remote clouds via the Web. In the cloud, both personal and professional service components are being coded, constructed, stocked, and maintained. Devices can connect and download services from the cloud service repository on–demand.
Devices are becoming increasingly interlinked to local and global networks, and are becoming device clusters through internal as well as external integration.
Figure 1 – An example of the various ways in which electronic devices are linked with one another, and the Internet.
As portrayed in Figure 1, everyday devices are becoming increasingly interconnected and Internet-connected. Physical elements are seamlessly integrated with cloud-based applications. Devices are now capable of talking to virtual services (CPS), providing innovative facilities and functions to end-users.
Smart devices, meters and grids are being developed and deployed in IT environments in order for a variety of manual tasks to become completely automated.
The Service Ecosystem
Applications, IT networks, infrastructures, devices, and platforms are all becoming service-enabled to be presented as reusable, composable, and autonomous services. Different types of IT resources usually expose their functional interfaces to be dynamically found, bound, and accessed. This enabling of service introduces loose coupling and high cohesiveness while eliminating dependencies.
Ambient & Adaptive Services
Generic or horizontal services are being produced and registered in public registries by developers worldwide in order to be used in any network across any industry. Most medium to large enterprises have their own service repository with all of the embedded service classification to ensure business agility. Many vertical services are being built, used, and refined in order to meet domain-specific requirements. In addition to the Web and cloud services, mobile services are also being produced for smartphones and tablets. Services are becoming on-demand and adaptive for use by any device.
IT resources are generally being presented as a service providing, brokering, and consumer entity. Data and applications, platforms, and infrastructures are codified as accessible, autonomous, highly available, and reusable services. This service enablement hides the implementation and operational complexities of all kinds of IT resources behind public interfaces.
The Cloud as the Next-Generation Service Infrastructure
Various Web and enterprise services and applications are being reviewed to verify their compatibility with the cloud, and modernized and migrated to the servers in cloud-based environments.
Adaptive middleware solutions seamlessly and spontaneously integrate devices with virtual business and IT applications and packages. The Internet is a sustainable communication infrastructure for defining services and applications that can be delivered realtime via a variety of devices. Figure 2 clearly shows how virtual applications can be seamlessly integrated with multiple types of mobile, Internet-enabled devices.
The Impacts on the Environment
Figure 2 – How the physical world connects to the cyber world.
These IT developments indicate an increased need for energy, especially with the growing number of devices that are used to connect to the Internet. Since more heat is getting passed on to the environment, more green IT devices, systems, and infrastructures need to be implemented.
IT experts are developing out-of-the-box methods for energy efficiency through conservation and harvesting, energy usage monitoring, and other ways to introduce greener IT practices.
The Internet of Energy (IoE)
This concept entails obtaining achieving energy efficiency from scarce energy resources through an effective electronic networking of all of the components of an energy system. Current energy grids with their isolated components and unidirectional communication will evolve into a market-oriented, service-based, and decentralized integrated system, to allow for interactive optimization and creating new energy services.
Increased usage of power supply systems that are optimized through home automation and smart metering will introduce different ways to reduce energy consumption, especially during peak load times. Improved energy management systems on the transmission and distribution levels will enable the large-scale use of decentralized generation and renewable energy sources. A challenge is to integrate management applications with the physical grid, to enable geographically diverse IT components to communicate with each other. Transitioning from the current energy system to an Internet of Energy will require new business models to be created [REF-3].
The Grid Technology
Un-utilized and underutilized computing IT resources can be instantly converted into a dynamic and dedicated computing grid to resolve computing and data-intensive business difficulties. Computing utilization is improved, resulting in better throughput and higher revenues for organizations. Technologies to establish next-generation green data centers and server farms have been pursued after the inception of grid concepts.
GC has become distinguished from conventional distributed computing by providing resource sharing, global-scale connectivity, user and workload automation, capacity planning, and optimal utilization of dormant computing machines. Grid is a noteworthy advancement in IT infrastructure. Information utilization and sharing are improved greatly, as the grid is being positioned as the virtual, more cost-effective, and error-tolerant infrastructure that effortlessly and quickly accomplishes high-end IT tasks.
The grid is fundamentally based on the virtualization of both information and workload. Non-grid environments have infrastructure, information, application, and database silos. Application throughput is constrained by the power of the allotted infrastructure. If these isolated IT resources are empowered to interoperate proactively, application performance will be greatly improved. New applications can be installed and executed with the existing infrastructure without requiring extra capital for infrastructure. Scalability, services on-demand, and ubiquitous access are readily achieved. Services become high-performing through grid infrastructure, and are made scalable and available at all times.
In a grid environment, IT resources are virtualized to create a pool of assets. The virtual separation of applications and information from the infrastructure they run on achieves infrastructure flexibility. This allows infrastructure to dynamically adapt to changing business requirements. These infrastructural IT resources can be repeatedly leveraged for several applications to accomplish more with less. Grids can dynamically ration and provision IT resources in cost-effective commodity clusters. Major infrastructure solutions providers have developed grid middleware to facilitate the creation of virtual organizations (VOs) that act as cheap, virtual, and scalable supercomputers.
Similar to the human brain, computers typically operate at only a small percentage of their total capacity. Computers that join grids can share their resources in solving other high-end critical tasks. GC uses multiple distributed computers, data storage systems, and networks as if they were a single virtual system.
Broadband communication technologies and solutions allow networked computers to exchange data at very high speeds. Virtualization is the foundation of GC that resulted in the creation of a computational infrastructure that is rapidly replacing the traditional model of stand-alone, centralized computer systems. GC provides access to distributed resources with the same ease as accessing electrical power. The combination of low-cost commodity blade servers, storage servers and networks, and the Internet makes achieving availability, accessibility, flexibility, and high performance practical and affordable.
An electric grid is a network of transmission lines, substations, and transformers that deliver electricity from the power-producing plant to buildings. Smart grids facilitate communication between the utility and the customers, and consist of a variety of controls, energy monitors, and automation elements that collaborate with the electrical grid to meet demand fluctuations in realtime. Smart grids can move the energy industry into a new era of reliability, availability, and efficiency to enable efficient electricity transmission, quick power restoration, and reduced costs. This lowers electricity rates and integrates large-scale renewable energy systems and power generation systems.
The Virtualization Technology
Modern IT environments are complex and have many moving parts. IT infrastructures and services need to quickly adapt to business changes, as the utilization rate of server IT resources declines. Resource provisioning is becoming more common as virtualization is emerging as an essential technology.
Virtualization has become intertwined with commonly used devices. Smartphones are available in a variety of operating systems, and hypervisors are made available for smartphones in order accommodate different mobile operating systems (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, and Java ME).
A key problem-solving pattern in computer science is to incorporate a layer of indirection that greatly affects IT deployment and management. Sun Microsystems has successfully implemented Java virtual machine (JVM) for portable Java, while Microsoft has introduced common language runtime (CLR) to achieve language-independent server-side applications. Enterprises are switching over to virtual LANs and private networks (VPNs), as virtualization decouples the architecture and usage of hardware and software IT resources from their physical implementation. Virtual machines enhance software interoperability, system security, and platform versatility by releasing both developers and users from traditional interface and resource constraints.
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Differentiators
Industry leaders recognize the success of SOA in realizing adaptive, realtime, and on-demand enterprises. Services have emerged as the construct for rapidly implementing mission-critical, enterprise-scale business systems. They are defined as software modules that are publicly and remotely discoverable, accessible, and interoperable, as well as reusable, loosely coupled, coarse-grained, and technology-agnostic. Services inherently support IT resource sharing, and their infrastructure independence means that they can be transmitted over any network and deployed and run on any platform. These modules are extremely flexible in converging with other system building-blocks like agents, aspects, and models. These remarkable characteristics highlight the ability of SOA to provide dynamic, adaptable applications as a service.
SOA, as a heavily business-driven technology, closely aligns business with IT. Service orientation is process-centric and makes business processes resilient. Business process innovation (BPI) through effective process modelling, enhanced visibility, consolidation, governance, and integration are achieved by implementing service orientation. Agile and integrated processes lead to intelligent systems, as SOA facilitates the generation and manipulation of composite data, services, applications, and processes.
The Solidification of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is the new-generation computing paradigm that entails the interconnection of servers to dynamically provision application data and services to be concurrent delivered to users with heterogeneous I/O devices. Cloud computing is aptly termed as Web-scale and scalable computing, due to its extreme elasticity to accommodate demand fluctuations.
Clouds greatly improve the utilization rate of cost inefficient, underutilized IT systems to maximize returns and host all types of IT resources. The transition from traditional on-premise to cloud hosting affords many benefits. Users can use any device to connect to the cloud at anytime from any Internet-enabled location, while business-aligned applications, services, processes, and data can be quickly created and hosted. Reduced upfront and management costs, quick deployment, high availability, and superior performance are several critical cloud computing differentiators.
With the realization of cutting-edge technologies such as grid, utility, dynamic provisioning, multitenancy, and SOA, applications that are hosted on remote server farms and delivered as services over the Internet are increasing in popularity.
Enabling a Green IT
IT has contributed significantly to environmental degradation in various ways, one of which is the Sustainability matrix [REF-1] as depicted in Figure 3.
IT infrastructures consume a significant amount of electricity and contribute to producing more greenhouse gas emissions, while the production, usage, and disposal of IT hardware cause severe environmental problems. Green IT benefits the environment through improving energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, using less harmful materials, and encouraging reuse and recycling. Factors such as environmental legislation and the rising cost of waste disposal further drive the global green IT initiative, and the energy tax is a useful mechanism that constantly keeps a check on energy usage.
Figure 3 – The Sustainability Matrix.
Many researchers have come out with green IT frameworks, and a recently developed framework [REF-2] proposes an energy-efficient IT framework for large and complex server farms to reduce electricity consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This framework comprises five phases that divides data center components into different resource pools, and applies green metrics like the Power Usage Effectiveness, Data Center Effectiveness, and Carbon Emission Calculator to measure each component’s performance. The IT industry has many well-defined green frameworks that leverage robust and resilient technologies, evaluation and measurement metrics, and best practices.
Green IT methods such as consolidation, centralization, virtualization, federation, and dynamic provisioning are being developed and implemented to reduce the high energy consumption of IT resources and data centers. SOA and the implementation of the Internet of Energy (IoE) and its smart meters and grids will facilitate meeting the green requirements of achieving energy efficiency, environment sustainability, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
[REF-1] Why a green IT Framework? http://totalexec.posterous.com/why-do-we-need-a-framework-about-green-it
[REF-2] Mueen Uddin & Azizah Abdul Rahman “Energy efficiency and low carbon enabler green IT framework for data centers considering green metrics”, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032112001979
[REF-3] Internet of Energy, ICT for Energy Markets of the Future, A report by BDI, 2010