Partners Applaud Cisco’s Sustainability Focus With Data Center, Webex Control Hub Updates

‘Everyone has a sustainability goal, but it’s very hard to actually measure and track and figure out what my improvements actually did in terms of environmental impact. Cisco has done a pretty good job of turning that into a dashboard through Control Hub,’ says Joe Berger, area vice president of digital experiences at Cisco Gold partner World Wide Technology.


Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins

Tech leader Cisco Systems has pledged to be a leader in sustainability in addition to networking and security. The company has revealed new data center energy management features and is exposing data analytics to customers and partners to help them make more informed decisions around energy consumption.

Cisco Chair and CEO Chuck Robbins said at Cisco Live 2023 that sustainability is among the San Jose, Calif.-based company’s top five customer priorities. The company has set a goal of a 90 percent reduction in Scope 1 and 2, or emissions owned or controlled by a company, by 2025. By 2030, Cisco’s goal is to slice Scope 3 emissions, or emissions generated outside the company from purchased goods and services, upstream transportation and distribution, by 30 percent.

“When we established a net-zero goal, Scope 3 means we have to help you achieve your goals, so we’re going to have to work together on this,” Robbins told the audience of partners and customers during his keynote.

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Because the company can’t reach its sustainability goals alone, Cisco is leaning on channel partners that can help customers more thoughtfully design and set up campuses, office environments and data centers, said Javed Khan, senior vice president and general manager of collaboration for Cisco.

“They can now use this data to make decisions about how much [energy] they’re using, should they be using less or more, or should they be upgrading their devices in certain cases,” Khan said. “On utilization, [the customer] might have a lot of rooms sitting idle between certain hours, so maybe they should turn the power down.”

[Related: Cisco Channel Chief Tuszik On Networking Cloud, FSO, And How Generative AI Can Help Partners Grow Their Businesses]

Customers are increasingly gaining access to more data that can help them from a sustainability perspective, but they’re struggling with how to make sense of that data. This is where a partner can come in and Cisco is making it easier for solution providers to build practices around sustainability, said Joe Berger, area vice president of digital experiences for St. Louis-based Cisco Gold partner World Wide Technology.

“Everyone has a sustainability goal, but it’s very hard to actually measure and track and figure out what my improvements actually did in terms of environmental impact,” Berger said. “Cisco has done a pretty good job of turning that into a dashboard through Control Hub. Now, it’s actually easier to measure the information that is given to you through all these different devices, whether it’s endpoints, access points, Meraki cameras and so forth.”

Cisco said that it has baked more features into its Nexus Dashboard, the interface for cloud and data center networks, for energy management across the Cisco Networking Cloud platform and data center environments.

The company is working with API integration partners Panduit, a network infrastructure and industrial electrical wiring company, and data center equipment and services provider Vertiv to inject its Nexus Dashboard with a range of insight related to energy usage and sustainability, including real-time and historical insight into the energy consumption, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions of Cisco Nexus switches and other IT equipment in the data center. The combination will also help companies monitor the ambient temperature of data centers to help improve cooling efficiency, while watching any additional servers, switches, storage and more that are connected to Panduit and Vertiv, according to Cisco.

“Customers are using services that somebody else hosts, so you don’t really know what’s going on there. So, we’re going to expose that, which will give them visibility into the Scope 3 services [they] are using and what the carbon emissions of those services are,” Khan said.

The newest set of analytics can help partners and businesses estimate carbon emissions based on energy consumption of Webex’s cloud-based services in the data center, show monthly trends for energy consumption, such as emissions output and emission savings, and provide data that businesses and channel partners can use to create their own sustainability practices, Khan said.

Calgary, Alberta-based Long View Systems is one such MSP that has built its own practice around sustainability. The company won first place in the Americas in the Cisco Partner Digital Sustainability Challenge in 2022 for employing a solution in a university setting that brought together DNA Spaces’ real-time building occupancy data and Sensible Building Science’s middleware to automate ventilation, heating and cooling to zones where students and faculty are located.

Long View is building on that use case, said Lane Irvine, network business solutions director for Cisco Gold partner Long View Systems.

“That’s an environment where the user flows change dramatically based on the day, based on the schedule, with some of those large classrooms that are underutilized,” Irvine said. “It’s things like that—how do we identify that and reduce our greenhouse gas impact as we process that data to create not only the best user experience, but the optimal environmental experience?”

The new features aimed at data center sustainability join the announcement Cisco made in February around the new widget, Carbon Emission Insights, that’s now in beta in Webex Control Hub to monitor energy usage from Webex devices.

Cisco also last summer created the new role of chief sustainability officer and promoted Mary de Wysocki, Cisco’s then-vice president of corporate social responsibility, to the senior leadership role.