BMW is two-thirds of the way through a three-year green IT programme to improve the efficiency of its datacentres and desktop IT systems.
In a podcast interview with Computer Weekly, Bennie Vorster, vice-president of the BMW group, said, "We take into account any renewable energy resources we can use in our datacentres." In Munich, BMW's datacentres are taking ground water from the city council to cool the datacentre using a heat exchanger. BMW pumps the water from its Munich datacentre back into the water system at a more manageable temperature, which Vorster said warms up the mains water coming out of household taps in winter. He said BMW was also using gas from a waste dump to generate electricity for its datacentre in South Carolina.
Vorster said BMW had replaced CRT monitors with TFT displays, which consume less electricity. Datacentre servers were also being replaced by more efficient models through the company's natural server replenishment cycle. "We replace servers that are between three and five years old." The newer models are more energy efficient and support server consolidation and virtualisation.
He said BMW runs a clear strategic approach in provision of shared physical IT on an enterprise, regional and local business level. Specialist skills have been concentrated into dedicated company locations. He said the shared services datacentres are used instead of each region running its own datacentre servers, which leads to server consolidation and lowers energy consumption.