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Ten Steps to Becoming an Eco DBA
Web Monkey About the Author

With security clearance and well over a decade of experience with SQL Server, Web Monkey is the resident DBA at Norb Technologies and a real database guru.

A regular contributor to SQL Server Club, his background includes software development, hardware, a smattering of essential networking knowledge and an unhealthy interest in web security. He has an obsession with automating repetitive tasks, but has a tendency to forget where he left his last open bag of fruit and nut...

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Have you ever thought about how much energy we DBAs expend in the course of a day? Not personally of course, but how many megawatts of power we fritter away without thinking? How much money we waste which could be making its way back into our wallets at the end of each month?

Here's a quick and easy guide to obvious places to save money and energy. If that all sounds like too much bother, why not have a look at the Energy Star web site for some ideas?

  1. Turn off those Lights!

    Look around you anytime in the winter in any big office and you'll see loads of other big offices with their lights on. This is fine in the day time but the trouble is at night and at weekends when most of those offices aren't occupied.

    This means that 75% of the electricity they're consuming is just making the skyline look pretty for night photographers and tourists. And how about your server room? Most large, modern server rooms are lights out operations, but if yours isn't, maybe it's time you did something about it? After all, they're empty 80% of the day.

  2. Switch off your Monitor

    This is another simple but easy one. When you leave at night, switch off your monitor. Many do this automatically, notably all of the Energy Star compliant monitors, but you can still save energy by powering down even more aggressively.

  3. Screens, not Screen Savers

    Screen savers are fine, but did you know that your typical DirectX animated screen saver can use 15% of your computer's CPU power? Putting your screen into power down instead of screen saver saves a lot of power being consumed by your CPU.

    With modern CPUs consuming 60W-100W of power, that's an awful lot of wasted heat, electricity and money you'll save over a year...

  4. Recycle

    Give those old laptops and servers to specialist recycling companies. Not only will they take them away, they'll re-use and sell on what they can and reclaim the precious metals like gold and copper that cover the circuit boards.

  5. Get Switched on to Green Light Bulbs

    Not now! But the next time an incandescent light bulb blows, replace it with something that's more efficient. Most of the energy you spend lighting your office gets turned into heat, not light, so it makes more sense to replace old bulbs with newer types.

    Europe's gone one step further - by 2009, only energy saving bulbs will be available in the shops.

  6. Power down that Hard Disk

    Most hard disks do a little work, occasionally. Very little is written to and from them unless they're part of a database or mail server. So power up your Windows Power Options and power down your hard disk after 10-15 minutes.

  7. System Standby

    If it's not being used, power it down. It's all there in the Windows power options. And if it's not a production box, how about powering down your development servers too? Most just sit there all night waiting for a developer to connect.

  8. Hibernate, not Shut Down

    In the time that it takes to do a memory count alone, your computer could be up and running if you just put it into hibernate mode the last time you used it. Plus you have the bonus of all of your windows and folders being in exactly the same state and position as they were before you shut down.

  9. Defrag, Regularly

    Poorly performing systems eat time and energy. Defragment your hard disks and your databases on a regular basis. You'll need to order replacement kit less often, meaning you can get on with your job and save your company a fortune and a lot of energy.

  10. Commuting, Polluting

    If the thought of cycling into work makes you shudder, why not get a motor bike? Modern motor bikes are comfortable, reliable and economical. Plus you get to accelerate faster than any super car could dream of! No? Then how about moving closer to where you work? It cuts down your commute and saves money on ever more expensive fuel. You will also save masses of time sitting in a boring tailback which could be used better elsewhere. You could even reconsider that bicycle!

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