We expect the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to operate efficiently. And indeed, the agency is making good on its mandate to achieve net-zero operations.
According to this Energy.gov post, NREL saved $88,000 in its 2010 fiscal year by, in large part, taking a virtualization-heavy approach to IT. By consolidating servers and shifting to a virtual desktop infrastructure for users at the Golden Field Office in Colorado, the data center now supports 50 virtual servers and 300 virtual desktops. And it’s that last part that adds a nice little twist to this tale.
Green is the color of IT security
Though it was included as a throwaway mention in the post, NREL reports that IT security enjoys a boost. Given the how relentlessly organizations are getting hacked these days, both in government and private industry alike, any and all methods to harden data centers are welcome ones. That enhanced data security is a byproduct of NREL’s IT energy efficiency efforts is a nice little feather in Green IT’s cap.
This is because virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) allow admins to provide consistent, “locked down” setups for their users. For instance, network intrusions are vastly reduced when users can’t introduce damaging malware by plugging thumb drives or other USB-connected devices into their thin clients — unintentionally or otherwise. Blocking USB devices is one of the many restrictions that VDI setups allow administrators to impose.
For more on NREL’s data center, check out this video tour below.