vmware workstation your first step in virtualization

how to buy vmware workstationSo finally we have covered the benefits of virtualization but mostly at an enterprise level that may not be suitable for everyone. 

Let’s think that you just need to run more than one computer as a personal lab, you don’t need to move all the way to an enterprise grade virtualization deployment, you need Vmware workstation.

Vmware workstation allows the user to run more than one operative system in the same computer at the same time without having to turn on and off your computer every time you need to use a different operative system.

From a green it perspective the product avoids the need to have several computers running at the same time with ends up saving on the electricity bill  at the end of the month and  of course leaving less electronic waste on the streets when the end of life of the computers arrive.

Vmware workstation is pretty cheap when you look at the benefits it provides. Without any discount you can pay for the product about 250 US dollars but when you compare the cost of buying another computer and the monthly cost of the energy you can easily figure the math.

It allows you to run more than 30 different operative systems including windows, Linux and some versions of Novell.  So it’s perfect to run a lab with a variety of needs.

The latest version of the product can run very big virtual machines with servers characteristics. So you can even simulate a server environment on your laptop or desktop.

It also allows the user to run a personal cloud on the on the computer with vmware cloud foundry which is a tiny version of vmware’s platform as a service. With these you can develop your cloud applications on your desktop and then upload it to their service.

So if you run into the need of having a small lab or need to develop locally vmware workstation is a great product. For more information on how to buy vmware workstation click here.

If you have any doubt about if vmware workstation is right for you please visit 10 things you should know before buying vmware workstation.

Replace travel with video conferencing

With modern technologies there is almost no need to travel in order to take day-to-day meetings. Audio and video conferencing software and hardware allows companies to avoid unnecessary travel to perform this kind of activities.
 
Avoiding unnecessary travel a high impact on the environment is reduced in conjunction with the improvement of the workforce results.
 
First of all you don’t need to travel or commute to take the meeting in the first place. Almost no emissions of CO2 are in place if you don’t take a flight or drive through the city for hours in order to take a one-hour meeting.
 
Video conferencing solutions:
 
oovoo: audio and video conferencing
skype: audio and video conferencing
webex: audio and video conferencing
 
Companies of all sizes are adopting video conferencing solutions every day for different uses but, from my point of view, there are some meetings that need to be taken face to face and those cannot be replaced by a video call so it’s up to you to analyze which meetings can be taken over the internet and which should not.
 
Standing from a Green IT point of view, reducing travel will reduce organization impact on the environment and will save some money on travel and accommodation with improved productivity.   

This post belongs to Identify methods to reduce workforce environmental impact.

 
 
  

Remote interviews

A normal recruiting process usually takes 4+ interviews depending on the company standards. Taking advantage on remote interviewing can save a lot of time and improve employee’s productivity.

Since candidates do not need to travel for the interview whether by a public transportation service or by his/her own car CO2 emissions are considerable reduced minimizing the company impact on the environment.

Employee or team performance can be improved by taking more interviews on the same time frame. Personally I have taking a few dozens of screening/interviews using Skype both on voice and video mode and the results for a first contact with a candidate works great.

From my point of view this technique can be applied only on the first sets of interviews leaving at least one or two to be in person.

Tools that can be used to to perform remote interviews:

oovoo: audio and video conferencing
skype: audio and video conferencing
webex: audio and video conferencing

This post belongs to Identify methods to reduce workforce environmental impact.

Working remotely but securely

Providing end users access to the company network remotely is the first step to design a telecommuting project at the corporate level. Evaluating different options with pros and cons of each one is required. Here are some points to analyse.

Traditional secure ways to access the corporate networks

VPN

Virtual private networks are used to establish communications channels between an end user computer or from a complete site to the corporate networks.

There are different types of VPN services that can be implemented. Some are listed here:

  • PPTP Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol creates a plain and unencrypted channel between source and destination.
  • IPSec IPSec encrypts IP packets by encapsulating them inside an IPSec packet. IPSec packets are then de-encapsulated at the end of the tunnel where are routed to the destination.
  • L2TP Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol which is a standards-based replacement, and a compromise taking the good features from each, for two proprietary VPN protocols: Cisco’s L2F and Microsoft’s PPTP.

Choosing the right VPN system depends on the security level required by the company and the budget available.

Remote Desktop

Originally the Remote Desktop service, protocol, was introduced by Microsoft on Windows NT terminal server edition to allow users to connect to a server where applications were installed. On Windows 2000 Remote administration was added allowing up to two administrators to connect remotely to perform management tasks.

Remote Desktop was included both on servers and workstation editions and up to today remains available on windows XP and Windows 7.

It’s not the most efficient protocol to gain access a remote computer but the benefit is that there are Remote Desktop Clients for Linux, Mac OS, IOS, Android and Windows.

Using Remote Desktop to access a remote computer to all users will require a VPN connection in most cases. The VPN service will provide the communication channel and Remote Desktop will be the protocol used on top of the channel to access the remote computer.

Remote third party software

If for any reason Remote Desktop Protocol cannot be used or the desktops that users use to access the remote location are not running Microsoft Windows other options are available.

VNC: VNC has been around for more than 10 years. It’s Free and allows remote access to and from different operative systems like Windows, Linux and MAC.

LogmeIN: Remote access app with a free and a pro ($12.95/month) version with file transfer, remote printing, and more.

GoToMyPC: Extremely popular remote access program for ~$25/month.

Some services does not need a VPN service in place in order to access corporate computers remotely providing access directly through their servers and then establishing a secure channel.
Personally I prefer to be able to control who access the corporate premises remotely. Having a VPN service will allow me that kind of control while using third party software, in some cases, does not.

For other options visit 40+ ways to access your computer remotely

The objectives of the exam have some years now a new modern option has not been included bur worth to mention.

Today VDI technologies like vmware horizon view allows users to access their Remote Desktop, or virtual desktop, using modern protocols that guarantee faster access, rich user experience and high levels of security.

VMWare view eliminates the need of having a VPN concentrator. It provides a secure https tunnel using a security server placed on the DMZ zone of the corporate network. In order to take security to the next level a two-way authentication can be in place like using a username and password and a electronic token.

This post belongs toIdentify methods to reduce workforce environmental impacts.

Telecommuting – Working from home

One of the simplest way companies can green their workforce is by allowing personnel to work from home. Let’s analyse it from a Green IT perspective.

Avoiding commute to work at least some days during the week has some advantages for the employees and the company:
  • Less cars on the street: this is simple, if your employees are not using their cars to commute from home to the office it’ going to be a reduction of cars on the street. Even if the personel does not use their own car but public service transportation it’ going to be better for the community.
  • Commute time saving: without needing to commute everyday employees now have more time to do personal activities they love improving their lives and the relationship with the company.
  • Savings for the company: less people at the workplace will end reducing operative costs of the company. An easy list of the benefits is less energy consumed for the heating/air conditioning system, less powered on computers. Not related to Green IT are cleaning the facilities, less coffee consumed an so on.
How Green is telecommuting is not that clear upfront. The reduction of energy consumption for the company might not be enough because employees still consuming energy at home in order to work remotely. In fact energy consumption will be more in some cases considering that the remote user will use their computer at home and access a powered on computer on the corporate network.
What is clear is that reducing the amount of cars on the streets moving employees back and forth will produce a CO2 emission reduction.

The idea of telecommuting has been around for a few years now since Internet simplified remote access to corporate networks. IT departments has been working to improve secure Te remote access services with some successes and some failures depending on how you look at it.

Use low power NAS (network attached storage) instead of file servers

What are the benefits of using NAS devices instead of traditional file servers? From a Green IT perspective there is a power saving but let’s analyse it deeply.

What is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) Device

A network attached storage (NAS) is a file level storage device that allows users to access storage shares from different types of devices. The idea behind a NAS device is to replace traditional file servers and other network devices and services.

NAS devices are often manufactured as network appliances.

Benefits of using NAS

  • Fast data access Most modern NAS Devices include 2 or more Gigabit Ethernet ports. Some also includes 10GB ports.
  • Easier administration NAS devices are easier to maintain and manage. That’s because less options are available if you compare with traditional File Servers.
  • Simple configuration The initial setup for a NAS devices shouldn’t take more than one hour instead of days that take to configure a traditional file server where you need to configure the hardware, install the operative system, and then network shares.
  • Lower Power Consumption Because of modern NAS at most have a few disks and a fan energy consumption is less than a file server.
  • Lower space required NAS devices are manufactured as network appliances so, in general, less space is required in the data center.

Using a NAS device from a Green IT perspective

The most important aspect of using a NAS devices from a green IT perspective is a reduced power consumption. 
Those devices are ideal for a small group of users like you might have on branch offices so an implementation of NAS devices to replace file serves need to be, at least, analysed.

Why for small group of users? I had very bad experience with NAS devices with high loads. Disks and fans broken to name a few. Even though most of them includes RAID configuration the time to get the spare part, install it and rebuild the RAID is incredible longer than with traditional file servers.

This post belongs to Explain different techniques and technologies that will enhance Green IT initiatives.

Identify methods to reduce workforce environmental impacts

Continuing with the idea of listing every topic of the exam objectives in order to present them as a way to prepare the exam (sort of a personal guide in order to get the certification).

Identify methods to reduce workforce environmental impacts

This is part of the Policies and Standards domain of the certification.

As said before, this is just a list. As soon as each of the lines gets a blog post it will be linked from here.

TCO Certification

 

Some history of TCO Certification 

TCO Certified Logo

TCO Development was created during 1992. Alongside with the SEMKO laboratory in Sweden developed a way to measure electro-magnetic emissions from older CRT displays because of health problems were introduced to office workers because of poorly-designed IT equipment (PCs and CRT displays). A solution was needed.

During those days the results of the tests created a certification that defined the standard of low electro-magnetic emissions for CRT displays and power management features. This certification is commonly known as TCO’92.

Some TCO Certification versions

  • 1992: Low emission and reduced energy consumption displays.
  • 1995: Criteria to reduce hazardous material content.
  • 1999: Criteria for image quality and visual ergonomics
  • 2001-2009: Environmental criteria in line with buyer demands.
  • 2009: Social responsibility in production.
  • 2012: Launch of new generation TCO Certified – The sustainability label for IT Products.

 

 

TCO Certification Today

 

Today not only displays are labeled as TCO Certified. This kind of IT-related products can be TCO Certified:

  • Desktops.
  • Laptops.
  • Displays.
  • Keyboards.
  • Projectors.
  • Printers.

With a modern approach the certification now focuses on the usability of the products without taking care of the Environment. Environment considerations also includes social responsibility during the manufacturing process.

For years the certification helped thousands of technology buyers in the corporate and public sectors includes certification requirements in their purchasing process.

TCO Certification is administered by TCO Development with independently accredited partners performing tests and verifications.
 

Helpful links: 

TCO Certification is included at “framework assessment tools, organizations, and standards” domain of Comptia Green IT Certification

Decrease print margins (increase print area)

Decrease print margins is one of the simplest ideas that you can implement right away in order to greening your IT department or even your company. The main goal here is to save paper, let’s discuss it.

Increasing your printing area or decreasing the print margins, depending on your point of view, is one of the simplest ideas that can be implemented organization wide.

This change on your software can save several sheets of paper depending on how much you print during the year.

According to Change the margins the default print margin goes from 1 inch to 1.25 inches. If you reduce the print margin to 0.75 inches an 4.75 percent reduction of paper consumption is achieved.

Another point that is not covered on Comptia Green IT Exam is that if you reduce the font size that you use  during printing you also save paper.

Both ideas together can save several trees during the year.

Links of interest:

This post belongs to Techniques and technologies that will enhance Green IT initiatives

Framework assessment tools, organizations, and standards

Continuing with the idea of listing every topic of the exam objectives in order to present them as a way to prepare the exam (sort of a personal guide in order to get the certification).

Identify Green IT framework assessment tools, organizations, and standards

  • United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
  • Agenda 21
  • International Federation of Consulting Engineers Project Sustainability Management (FIDIC’s PSM)
  • IPD Environmental Code
  • ISO 21931
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Energy Star
  • TCO Certification
  • Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
  • 2002/96/EC Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) requirements
  • Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI)
  • Green Computing Impact Organization, INC. (GCIO)
  • Green Electronics Council
  • The Green Grid
  • International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3)

This is part of the Policies and Standards domain of the certification.

As said before, this is just a list. As soon as each of the lines gets a blog post it will be linked from here.

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