by Rick Swanborg

Beyond Virtualization: How Raytheon’s IT Department Helps Meet Green Goals

Jun 25, 20092 mins
Data CenterVirtualization

Raytheon's Green IT initiative started with data center virtualization. But today's Green IT initiatives encompass system development and business efficiency.

Corporate sustainability programs that address efficiencies throughout an organization will make the greatest impact over time. Following that premise, Raytheon’s sustainability initiative involves a green IT strategy as one of several ways the company is reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. The company has realized its initial greenhouse gas reduction goal, with Raytheon IT delivering measurable environmental and operational improvements as part of the enterprisewide effort.

The Situation: Approximately 90 percent of Raytheon’s greenhouse gas emissions come from energy consumption. As a charter member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program, Raytheon committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent per dollar of revenue between 2002 and 2009. The company exceeded its goal by realizing a 38 percent cut by 2008. Raytheon’s green IT strategy focused initially on the company’s data centers, where space and power constraints offered opportunities.

To read more on this topic see ABC: An Introduction to Environmentally Sustainable IT and Raytheon Reaps Green Success From Sowing Sustainability Seeds.

What They Did: Raytheon virtualized or decommissioned 1,300 servers and established common database services to reduce system acquisition, power and cooling costs. IT encouraged Raytheon’s businesses to use shared resources by offering a discount that trumped dedicated resources. Server virtualization enabled Raytheon to avoid building a major data center despite a 25 percent growth in capacity demand. Green IT projects produced more than $11 million of savings in 2008.

The company’s IT project management process now includes power reviews to ensure that project teams estimate power consumption of new systems and work in advance to achieve reductions. IT also helps other Raytheon functions consider how technology can help them operate more efficiently through automated energy management, reduced travel and commuting or progress toward a paperless office.

Why It Was Unique: By enveloping initiatives like data center virtualization within a broader sustainability strategy, Raytheon’s green IT program represents more than a short-term means of saving money. Raytheon’s overarching commitment to reducing its environmental impact provides a more compelling case for stakeholders than a technology-focused program.

The Takeaway: Being lean and green are two sides of the same coin. Raytheon shows that a continued focus can generate tangible, sustained benefits for both the organization and the environment.

Rick Swanborg is president of ICEX and a professor at Boston University. A full case study can be found at