Moving to blade servers will help Deutsche Bank to significantly cut its carbon footprint, improve its datacentre efficiency and also slash costs, an executive has revealed.

Financial services giant Deutsche Bank has started a phased programme to reduce and offset its carbon footprint by 20 percentage points a year, the chief technology officer of the bank told delegates at the Green IT '09 conference in London.

Use of blade servers is a central part of this plan, to improve the energy efficiency of data centres, according to Stuart Hasking, chief technology officer, architecture and engineering at Deutsche Bank.

Hasking said he was a “big fan of blades" because they are "the best way to get the most out of the energy coming into the data centre.”

But blade servers forced the bank to redesign its datacentre space, to change the way it cooled and monitored them. “The challenge with blades is around cooling, particularly putting them into a dense space, and that has caused us to re-think a lot of our data centre design,” he said.

Speaking more broadly on the traditional datacentre design in most companies, Hasking said: "The level of losses we have accepted in terms of getting power to the server has been unacceptable."

What's more, while "sweating the assets" by holding onto IT assets for longer is an oft-recommended way to lighten the carbon footprint, Hasking preached the opposite.

"To achieve optimal efficiency, taking Moore's Law into account, we have to refresh 25 per cent of IT assets every nine months," said Hasking, adding that most servers would have a lifecycle of only three years, and he would even go as far as decommissioning servers every two years.

This goes against the advice often preached by environmental IT pundits to hold on to IT assets for longer. Catalina McGregor, chair of the government's CIO/CTO Council Green ICT Delivery Group questioned Hasking about this advice. McGregor, who was in the audience, noted that most analysts advice companies to take the manufacture, shipping and disposal of servers into account when measuring the environmental impact.

But Hasking said he would put some of the responsibility on suppliers to be accountable for manufacture and disposal of servers.

"It creates a healthy tension," said Hasking.