Cleaning Up The E-Waste To Save Power

Sometimes it is the things we never see that make the greatest impacts.  In the world of Information Technology (IT), technology changes in an instant.  As we continue to migrate into a digital world, the demand for servers is rising, businesses have greater technology needs and we need to find a better way to do things.  But what does IT have to do with wine?

At Kendall-Jackson, we try to integrate sustainability into every facet of our business, from vineyards and wineries, to Human Resources and IT.  We want to do things that will have the greatest positive impact on the environment and reduce our overall footprint where ever we can.

In 2007 our IT department undertook a long term project to improve the efficiency of the numerous servers needed to meet our day-to-day operations; this is called server virtualization. You might be surprised just how big an impact this has had on our organization.

Previously we had dozens and dozens of servers that could only handle one task or program at a time.  Essentially, we were confined to having one server per device.  On average these servers were only using 15% of their total capacity, but had to be sized to meet the maximum possible demand.

Starting in 2007 we began turning each of these servers into virtual machines that can live in just about any offsite data center and allocate needed resources as demand increases or decreases.  As a result, we reduced our total number of servers by consolidating and sharing extra memory or processing power.

Virtualizing our data center let us massively reduce the infrastructure we once needed to house the physical devices; hundreds of servers consolidated into just 16. We saw the benefits of this process almost immediately. We reduced the footprint of our data center, reduced the amount of air condition used to cool the devices, lowered maintenance costs and significantly reduced the amount of electricity used in our IT department.  At the end of the day we’re seeing a huge energy savings for our company.

One of the corner stones to our sustainability program is to be Impactful. For us, being impactful is not just putting a little solar on the roof of our tasting room and calling it a day. We make tough decisions every step of the way in order to have the greatest impact on our environment, and create tangible benefits for our community and business.

How has virtualizing our data center been Impactful? As a result of this project, our overall electricity usage has been reduced by 1.4 million kWh, saving more than $167,000 between 2008 and 2010.  The results of this project now save us enough electricity to power 225 homes each year.  We like to think that that’s making an impact.