As part of the University's larger sustainability efforts, AITS strives to conserve energy, recycle responsibly and reduce paper consumption. The following initiatives represent our ongoing efforts, and we continually analyze our processes to find areas where we can become more sustainable as we provide and support technology resources for faculty, staff and students at the University of Illinois. Green, or environmentally friendly, information technology can be described as effective power management to reduce unnecessary energy consumption, the eco-friendly disposal of e-waste of technology equipment, and the virtualization of servers and applications to reduce power consumption. Having appropriate IT asset lifecycles and practicing responsible refresh and purchasing strategies leverage advances in technology and energy utilization. Further information in sustainability and green IT Best Practices may be found at http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/GreenITBestPracticesattheUnive/182427
The following list represents vendors used by AITS for purchasing computers, storage and printers. All of these vendors have established green initiatives (or Energy Star certifications) that we take advantage of by purchasing their products (via University or state contracts). Planned refresh lifecycles (servers at 5 years, workstations at 5 years, laptops at 3 years, storage at 5 years) allow us to take advantage of technology improvements, lower price, and lower energy consumption as the industry advances.
Standardizing in high efficiency technologies and consolidation / virtualization of server farms
Investing in server and blade virtualization technology where possible, which results in appreciable reduction in cost and number of assets, data center and rack space, cooling, power consumption, and less hardware to recycle at the end of cycle. Virtual machines save on power and space by consolidating physical machines. AITS uses hardware that can host many servers on a single 'real' physical machine. The energy and space savings potential are good for both the environment and the bottom line. As physical servers are approaching their end of useful lifecycle, we work with vendors to move applications to a virtual environment where possible.
Investing in thin client computing for typical administrative user desktop needs, which results in appreciable reduction in power consumption and waste while providing application functionality on demand
Laptop loaner program providing computers for the employee who travels occasionally, so departments can take advantage of checking out a standardized laptop and use VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to securely connect to the University while working remotely. The use of VPN to connect to the campus network when you are working from home helps reduce your carbon footprint. With the VPN, it's like you're at your desk or office - you can connect to any mapped drive or personal folder on the campus network.