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29 March 2012 by Yevgeniy Sverdlik - DatacenterDynamics
AOL decommissioned about 9,500 servers as part of its participation in a contest by the Uptime Institute, where companies compete to take the biggest amount of equipment offline and save energy and other operational costs, as well as reduce their carbon footprint.
The Institute, division of the 451 Group, estimates that decommissioning one 1U rack server can save about $500 a year on energy cost. Another $500 is saved in operating system licenses and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs.
The contest, called Server Roundup, was kicked off in October 2011. Matt Stansberry, director of content and publications at the Institute, said the contest’s intent was to encourage and recognize removal of obsolete hardware, reducing overall energy use in the process.
“So much of the past several years' efforts around data center efficiency has focused on the facilities' infrastructure and PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness),” he said. “This contest was specifically designed to engage the IT community to get serious about asset utilization and energy efficiency.”
AOL’s decommissioning project represented a 26% turnover in server assets across the company. The company ended up saving $5.05m as it reduced utility costs, maintenance and licensing costs. The figure also includes $1.2m in cash AOL received from asset sales and reclamation.
Another participant in the contest was NBC Universal. The media company’s infrastructure team decommissioned more than 280 servers, representing about 7.4% of the total enterprise and leaving 3,800 physical servers running in total.