Demand Side Management for Greener ICT

Much work in Green ICT is 'supply side': how to best implement an ever-expanding ICT infrastructure to meet an ever-expanding demand for ICT services. It's time to give attention to 'demand side' strategies which reduce the need for new ICT capacity in the first place. Here is what some enterprises are doing.

We had already noted the unnecessary demand placed on ICT infrastructure by document sharing via email. We advocate that organizations evolve to working on and sharing documents via web-based collaboration tools.

Now we find an enterprise adopting demand-management techniques for their mobile device clouds. Information Week reports,

[Accuweather's] servers…treat…two nearby forecasts as two separate requests, even though the data people receive is the same. So the data center generates a new response rather than use a cached copy of the request.

…requests for AccuWeather data have exploded in the last year, thanks to mobile devices. In January 2010, AccuWeather was getting about 100 million data requests a day. In January of this year, 750 million, many of them automated requests from devices to keep weather apps updated.

One way [Accuweather CIO Steve] Smith dealt with this challenge is to put five simple lines of code on the edge servers run by one caching service provider, AT&T. That code recognizes when someone's sending a GPS coordinate to request weather, and it truncates the number to two decimal points--about 1 kilometer. AT&T looks at the request and, if it's identical to one recently made, serves a cached version of the content.

The benefit from those few lines of code: 300 million to 500 million fewer requests a day handled by AccuWeather servers.

We're looking for more demand-side innovation. Post a comment below or email some info for publication here.