Being Green: It is easier than you may think
As an adult who grew up watching “Sesame Street” on television, I recall the famous quip by Kermit the Frog, “It’s not easy being green.” With all due respect to my childhood hero, while “being green” may not be easy, it is not all that hard either. The path to saving the Earth involves the intelligent use of the planet’s resources. While going green is best for the environment, implementing green initiatives is easier — if it does not mean cleaning out your wallet in the process.
With that in mind, let’s examine some ways your company can apply a recycling motto to better your organization, your bottom line and, ultimately, our world. Since many different green themes are promoted, I’ll use my local recycling program: Rethink, Reduce and Reuse. I have also added a fourth — Remember.
An easy way to be green is to be smarter about what you do. Rethinking outdated processes and actions can quickly lead to more effective and more efficient results. Buying a new, fuel-efficient vehicle to save gas may be unnecessary, if you can get the same results from combining your daily errands to minimize your driving time. Likewise, a little planning and extra effort leads to a positive difference in your organization.
This logic can be applied to business actions and infrastructure. Many companies now use the data warehouse to better understand inventory, route shipments and plan deliveries to reduce fuel consumption. Some can easily optimize inventory by understanding total stock movement in an area and re-directing inventory from an under-performing store to one that has high demand.
This ‘rethink’ philosophy can also be used by groups within your company. Many extract, transform and load (ETL) processes are inefficient with recent technology advances. By rethinking and redesigning the ETL process, IT resource consumption can be minimized. This, in effect, will provide better data accessibility.
While examining your processes and infrastructures, you will often find opportunities to reduce consumption. This, in turn, will also reduce costs and increase productivity.
Since optimizations are ingrained into the dashboard process, fewer resources are used in the analytics. Dashboards can cut back on paper output by alerting users to action. Because the users can focus on the immediate concern, the time to action is less, and the responses are more meaningful and relevant.
The database spaces can also be trimmed. With an appropriate system management and advanced indexing like multi-level partitioned primary index in place, you can cut back on the need for summaries, extracts and denormalized structures and still receive high performance. This recurring benefit not only reduces data volumes but also decreases or, in many cases, removes data management.
Getting many uses out of a single object has always been a cornerstone of going green. Just as the aluminum can is recycled for other purposes, your data can be effectively reused in your organization. In fact, data reuse is a major benefit of data warehousing. Once the data is stored and processed, it can be used many times to serve multiple user communities, thus saving resources, money and time.
Likewise, reuse is applicable when upgrading your system. Rather than discard older nodes, you can redeploy them into quality assurance systems, sandboxes, development platforms or even as part of a dual-active or disaster recovery architecture.
Many paths exist to intelligently go green. It does not necessarily mean making major sacrifices or radical changes in your business. Proactively evaluating wasteful processes and realizing the drivers and outcomes of your actions can help save the Earth while saving your company’s resources and money.
Rob Armstrong is the Director of Data Warehousing Support at Teradata (NYSE:TDC).
(Courtesy: Teradata Magazine www.teradata.com/tdmo)
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