Green IT does not mean spending heavily on equipment and applications

Bangalore-based GMR Group is one of the fastest growing infrastructure
organizations in the country with interests in airports, energy, highways and
urban infrastructure. The company has undertaken several green initiatives over
the past couple of years, and Subbarao Hegde, CIO, GMR Group, talks about such
initiatives and how the future is Green. Excerpts

What has been GMRs green IT strategy?
We at GMR have created a structured top down approach to give an enterprise
a wide push to green IT. We have formed an environment council consisting of
experts from the infrastructure industry, environmentalists and analysts to look
at green right from the conceptual stage of any infrastructure project that we
embark on. In addition, we have set up Value for Moneycross functional teams (CFTs)
headed by a business chairman. CFT gauges the RoI and long-term benefits derived
from GMRs green strategies.

Based on the recommendations of the environment council and CFTs we have
developed an action plan under which we have identified ten top areas for the
go green strategy to control expenditures; put in place metrics, tools,
techniques and measurement methodologies; address resource and training
requirements; develop benchmarks and conduct monthly MIS; and quarterly reviews
of our initiatives.

Can you list some of the green initiatives undertaken so far?
The most significant move was to put in place a measurement concept to
measure the power consumption of the data center right at the inception stage.
We placed a separate power meter in the data center to measure and monitor the
power requirements for cooling, operations, computing etc. When we discovered
that cooling took up maximum energy, we partnered with Emerson Network Power to
go in for precision cooling that dynamically adjust temperatures within the data
center depending on the load factor. We also deployed energy efficient fiber
channel network devices, SAN and switches to improve the data center efficiency.
All this led to 15% savings in power costs.

Also, before going in for virtualization, we developed a virtual lab to carry
out the server and storage consolidation; replace inefficient equipment and make
a transition toward energy efficient blade servers, and test and simulate the
entire virtualized environment. With the help of virtualization we could bring
down the number of servers (combination of blade and tower) from fourteen to
just three.

We have also put in place a separate VLAN to facilitate better usage of
unified communications, especially high definition videoconferencing,
multi-party instant chat and collaboration using Microsoft SharePoint portal,
etc. GMR has been exploring these concepts to help employees reduce travel costs
and to reduce carbon footprint.

How did you embed the green concept into your landmark, Rajiv Gandhi
International Airport?
In a way our internal Go Green strategy and the work on the Rajiv Gandhi
International Airport was rolled out simultaneously, about 2.5 years ago. We
took several measures to make sure that green as a concept was adopted within
the organization and also translated in our work right from the inception stage.
With the help of a quarterly e-newsletter covering subjects such as green
building architecture and green rating systems such as LEED, we increased
awareness about the need and benefits of green buildings.

As a result of these efforts, our maiden green infrastructure project, the
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has been awarded the LEED Silver Rating by
the US Green Building Council. It is the first airport in Asia to be awarded the
LEED certification.

Priya Kekre

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