UNO a top school for IT sustainability

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By April Wilson, Senior Staff Writer

Energy Star has recognized UNO Information Services as one of the top five universities in the country for their contributions and progress in the government sponsored program’s Low Carbon IT Power Campaign. The recognition brings to the forefront the efforts made by the Information Services team lead by Technical Service Manager Andrew Buker and Desktop Manager Seth Korber in the department’s efforts to save both money and resources.

“We are using less electricity, buying less hardware, and enabling our existing hardware to be used longer.  All of which saves money, reduces our carbon footprint, and avoids further pollution by decreasing our demand for fossil fuels and electronics manufacturing,” said Korber by email. The recognition came as a result of Information Services’ efforts to make UNO a more environmentally conscious campus through desktop and server virtualization and PC Power management. These efforts are estimated to have saved UNO $50,000 in power costs and $1 million in combine utility and hardware cost said Korber. “Server virtualization allows one physical server to run many ‘virtual servers’ that would typically each be on their own.  This allows for dramatic reductions in the usage of space, energy and management time,” said Korber. This is due to reductions in power usage by the servers as well as a reduction in the energy used to keep that many servers cool enough to operate.

Server virtualization allows UNO to run more than 200 virtual servers on only three physical units with one backup. Korber also estimates that as the universities computing needs grow up to 350 virtual servers will be able to run on the four existing servers before more are needed. In addition to server virtualization, desktops have also been virtualized. This saves the university money by “allowing us to use the desktops for seven to ten years rather than the typical three to five for a standard desktop,” said Korber. The initial server virtualization was funded by two one-time finding requests from the Office of Business & Finance and Information services now accrues money for maintenance. The move towards virtual desktops was funded by President Miliken’s office and the project is being moved towards sustainability so that it too can accrue monies towards maintaining the program. In addition to the power conservation projects with campus computing other efforts by the team have included “zero client” computers that use 80 percent less power than average in MBSC Food Court and the Math Lab. MBSC & DSC IS computer labs have been using a mix of 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified paper for printing and the encouraged use of duplex (double sided) printing to save paper.Students will continue to see Information Service make every effort to keep UNO at the forefront of green technology use.

“This includes distance and hybrid education, and online class offerings growing, desktop virtualization, and PC power management continuing to expand across campus, easier accessibility to websites and digital services from mobile and tablet devices decreasing the need to print documents, and duplex printing becoming the default printing option in MBSC & DSC labs” said Korber.

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