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Apr 3rd 2012

AOL Wins Award for Decommissioning Servers

AOL has notched another award in our data center energy efficiency efforts. We've won the Uptime Institute's first "Server Roundup" contest to decommission old servers. The Uptime Institute, a data center industry think tank and trade association, called for data centers to find and remove duplicated or unused applications, out-of-date, obsolete servers and replace them with more efficient, virtualized hardware.

Given AOL's ongoing efforts to be more efficient in our data centers and AOL's Technology Operations team's ongoing work decommissioning servers, this challenge seemed right up our alley. Mike Manos, SVP of Technology Operations, had the entire Tech Ops team – from systems analyst to database administrators to project management to the data center team – involved in the migration to the internal cloud-computing environment, defining "absurd" server applications and products and identifying "power hog" servers. The team had to root out servers full of ancient data, which entailed touching almost every server and doing a "door-to-door" canvas to discuss the fate of the server with the owners.

After gathering the documentation for the contest application we learned that AOL started January 2011 with 37,016 servers, and decommissioned 9,484 – a 26% turnover, grossing $5.05 million in savings for 2011. The savings encompassed many areas of the company: electric costs for the servers accounted for $1.4 million of our $13 million annual electric bill, sourcing saved $2.2 million in licensing costs and asset management had $1.2 million in sale/recycle/scrap. During this time period we did install 8,376 new, more efficient servers. Net savings, including these new servers, is $4 million – still awesome! Environmental benefits were seen in the reduction of almost 20 tons of carbon emissions!

Nov 15th 2011

Michael Manos Speaks at 7X24 Exchange Fall Conference


Michael Manos, AOL VP of Technology Operations, presented at the 7x24 Exchange Fall Conference in Phoenix on Monday focusing on "Managing Disruption: A Data Center Love Story." During his presentation, which was covered by Rich Miller for DataCenterKnowlege.com, Manos shared his expertise on data centers, incorporating references to movie romances like "The Princess Bride," and discussed AOL's efforts to reform and update its technologies:

"AOL runs about 60,000 servers, Manos said, which are spread across five primary data centers in North America and Europe. "We're talking about dramatically reforming what was one of the world's largest Internet companies," said Manos. "In our case, the data center team was very plugged in and wanted to improve. What we did was come in and radically reduce the cruft."

A starting point was "Project Ops-Surdity," a mission to find and retire servers that were plugged in but not performing any useful functions. "In 10 months, we've been able to reduce our footprint by 4,500 servers," said Manos. "It's been a lot of work."

Click here to read the full article about Manos' presentation on DataCenterKnowledge.com.

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