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How to green your data centers and save money

Rebecca Merrett | April 7, 2014
SAP's global CIO, Björn Goerke, talks about different tools and techniques he is using to green the cloud provider's data centres worldwide and drive down power costs. The large enterprise software company wants to run its 16 data centres worldwide on 100 per cent renewable energy.

"That's how we make sure we get the best utilisation out of the hardware that's sitting there creating heat and consuming energy."

SAP HANA data centre in Sydney

With the new Australian Privacy Principles that went into effect last month, Goerke says data sovereignty concerns from Australian customers is what lead SAP to establish a local data centre.

The new Australian Privacy Principles state that Australian organisations cannot simply point the finger at offshore cloud providers if a breach were to occur, as they need to make sure their offshore provider has taken "reasonable steps" to comply with the local laws.

Goerke says he takes several measures to ensure the safety of the data in SAP's data centres. Some of these include encrypting data at rest as well as during transit, having customers do specific audits of their solutions, getting regular audits from external parties to get certified in accordance with national standards, creating several layers of defence inside the data centre, regularly training security staff, and monitoring 24x7 via security centres worldwide.

"SAP also has a data privacy officer who covers not only our internal data privacy aspects but also for our solutions portfolio," he says. "And when we work with partners or suppliers, we make sure the corresponding requirements are fulfilled by the partner."

Goerke is also planning a second data centre in Australia for disaster recovery.

BYOD and wearables

SAP has provided about 75,000 devices to staff worldwide, with another 6,000 being brought into the workplace by employees. Of the 6,000, 289 devices are from Australian and New Zealand employees, with a staff base of about 900.

"Most of it is iOS, but people do have a choice; we have an internal catalogue where people can choose a device," Goerke says, "That could be iOS, Samsung Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry even though BlackBerry is somewhat on the decline.

"We use our own mobile device management software Afaria for all the devices, and we are able to wipe the devices if an employer chooses to leave the company or loses the device."

Goerke is also a wearable tech fan, being a big user of the Jawbone fitness band. He says it's like a "Tamagotchi thing for adults".

"It changes behaviour, it changed my behaviour. Some days I'm just sitting in meetings and not walking a lot. When I check my device and realise I've only done half of the steps I should have done I go for a walk just to make sure I meet the goal to get the well done'. You link up with friends and family and it becomes a competition. So it's like gamification," he says.


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