IT Bolstered by U.S. Energy-Efficiency Agenda

by | Nov 3, 2009

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EmersondatacenterInformation technology departments are focused on greater energy efficiency and using more renewable energy sources now more than ever as the Obama Administration pushes its energy-efficiency agenda, while high-tech companies like Samsung and Microsoft are driving home the message to boost the adoption of environmentally friendly PCs by consumers.

Companies like Yahoo are looking to use less power and to buy more of their energy from renewable sources such as hydro, wind and solar power, which also means building or leasing data centers in locations where utility providers offer renewables, reports Data Center Knowledge.

Yahoo and VMware, for example, have built data centers in central Washington, where the local utility power is almost exclusively hydro power, reports Data Knowledge Center.

Other companies like i/o Data Centers, AISO and Emerson Network Power are integrating solar power into their new data centers, but the price and scalability of renewable power presents challenges to data center operators, according to the article.

Panelists at a recent Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit hosted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), indicate that carbon emissions regulation will likely introduce new financial considerations around renewable energy, and support the existing focus on data center efficiency, reports Data Center Knowledge.

There is evidence that efforts to improve the energy efficiency of data centers are extending beyond the largest providers, according to the article, citing data center trade group AFCOM’s findings that 71 percent of its members are pursuing energy-efficiency projects.

High-tech companies like Samsung Electronics and Microsoft are helping to pave the way through a collaboration aimed at efficient energy usage in computers. The two companies are working together to encourage PC users to purchase more environmentally friendly PC systems.

Samsung expects substantial energy savings when Microsoft’s flagship Windows 7 operating system and Samsung’s 40 nanometer (nm) class DDR3 DRAM are used together. Samsung, a strong supporter of Windows 7, will be migrating all of its corporate PCs worldwide to the new operating system beginning in 2010.

Samsung initiated its own global marketing campaign in September centered around “Less Energy, More Speed”, initially focused on its energy-efficient, 40 nm-class, 2-Gb DDR3 DRAM, while Microsoft touts significant reductions in power consumption with the new power management function in its recently released Windows 7 operating system.

Meanwhile, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have developed a novel computing scheme that claims to cut energy cost in half by using a system of slower processors instead of one fast processor that can do the work in about the same time, using less energy, reports Energy Efficiency and Technology (EET). The downside: it’s a bit intensive for the programmers, says EET.

The CMU scheme, called Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes by researchers, is a parallel computing idea that relies on programmers to decide how different low-power processors with local Flash storage are responsible for what sections of information, reports EET. Click here (PDF) for the paper on the researchers work.

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