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Irwin Mitchell saves £65,000 a year with green IT strategy

John-Paul Kamath

Irwin Mitchell, a UK law firm with more than 2,500 employees, expects to save a total of £65,000 a year by driving down power consumption in its IT department.

Gary Thomas, head of IT at Irwin Mitchell, said the company is working towards compliance with the ISO 14000 standard, which helps firms reduce the energy consumption of their IT equipment.

The company expects to save £15,000 a year on power costs after rolling out Verdiem client-server software to automatically switch PCs off overnight and to switch PCs to a sleep state after being left idle for 15 minutes.

"We took energy savings further by switching PCs to sleep mode rather than leaving them running a screen saver in locked mode," said Thomas.

Irwin Mitchell ran a two-week pilot project with 20 users to get feedback in setting the optimal idle time and gaining user buy-in.

"If we were to switch PCs off after five minutes, users would get upset, so there is a balance between maximising shut-down time and saving energy and being practical."

Thomas chose software that did not require the use of Wake on Lan (WoL) - a network standard that can switch PCs on a local area network on and off - because not all the 2,500 PCs had a network interface card that supported the WoL standard.

In a second project, which is expected to save nearly £10,000 a year in power costs, Irwin Mitchell plans to move its datacentre to a VMware environment.

Irwin Mitchell has virtualised 50 physical servers of its total fleet of 250 onto four boxes. It plans to further reduce the remaining 200 servers but has yet to set a target.

The company predicts savings of £40,000 a year in power costs by taking a more strategic view on printers. This includes reducing its printers and moving to a "pull" print environment.

Staff use a swipe card to authorise print jobs at the printer, unlike a "push" enviroment, where print jobs are sent and not collected, wasting paper and toner.





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