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    Monday
    Jan252010

    10 Energy Fact tips from DoD’s blog on The Road to a Greener Navy

    US Dept of Defense has a blog called DoDLive. On the site is a Energy Awareness section.

    Category Archives: Energy Awareness

    1. The Road to a Greener Navy: 10 Facts on the Navy’s Quest for Alternative FuelsOctober 16, 2009

      Posted in DoD News, Energy Awareness.

      No comments

    2. Armed with Science: Energy Research for Force MobilityOctober 13, 2009

      Posted in Armed with Science, Energy Awareness.

      No comments

    3. Armed with Science: Algae Jet Fuel?October 8, 2009

      Posted in Armed with Science, Energy Awareness.

      2 comments

    4. Air Force Achieving Green GoalsOctober 7, 2009

      Posted in Energy Awareness.

      2 comments

    5. Armed with Science: The Nellis Air Force Base Solar ArrayOctober 6, 2009

      Posted in Armed with Science, Energy Awareness.

      No comments

    6. President Obama Declares October National Energy Awareness MonthOctober 6, 2009

      Posted in Energy Awareness.

    One of the posts on a Greener Navy and its quest to us alternative fuels.

    The Road to a Greener Navy: 10 Facts on the Navy’s Quest for Alternative Fuels

    1.    The Department of Navy consumes 1.3 billion gallons of fuel per year and is the second largest consumer of fuel in the Department of the Defense (US Air Force is 1st, Army is 3rd).

    2.    Every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil increases Navy fuel costs by almost $300 million.

    3.    The Navy has set aggressive goals to reduce its reliance on oil, including a 10% annual increase in alternative fuels use by base support vehicles and equipment.

    4.    Over 3,000 Electric and Natural Gas vehicles are currently in use on Navy bases. Electric and Natural Gas vehicles might be the most efficient land-based alternative energy solution since they require no conversion from the form in which they are produced or mined and are naturally transportable.

    5.    Alternatives to petroleum-based fuel are endless. Pond scum (algae), non-food crops, biomass, wastes and CO2 are among the many energy sources currently under study.

    6.    Algae fields can produce 6,000 gallons of oil per acre. A land area of 500 square miles (21.5 x 21.5 miles or 2 times the size of Washington, D.C.) could yield enough oil to meet all of the Navy’s annual fuel needs. In comparison, US oilfields currently occupy 40,000 square miles.

    7.    Biofuels derived from algae and the oilseeds of the Camelina sativa plant will be used in the Navy’s “Green” Hornet and “Green” Ship initiatives.

    8.    More than 200,000 gallons of algae- and camelina-based fuel will be delivered to the Navy for test and evaluation. These sources will be the first liquid alternatives to petroleum to be certified for future use.

    9.    The first Navy aircraft engine to run on bio-fuel was successfully tested this month (October 2009) at the Naval Air Warfare Center Patuxent River, Md.

    10.    First flight of the Navy’s F/A-18 “Green” Hornet will take flight in the spring of 2010. The camelina-based biofuel will be blended in a 50-50 mix with standard, petroleum-based JP-5 jet fuel.

    Courtesy of Amy Behrman, NAVAIR Corporate Communication

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Jan252010

    4 category approach to Green the Data Center

    WSJ has a guest article by Robert Plant.

    — Dr. Plant is an associate professor in the department of computer information systems at the University of Miami's School of Business Administration

    How Green Should My Tech Be?

    To decide whether an eco-friendly IT idea makes sense, first place it in one of four categories

    By ROBERT PLANT

    In these tough economic times, green initiatives can be a hard sell. Companies don't want to take a gamble on pricey projects that lie outside their core mission. Yet lots of eco-friendly ideas promise to pay for themselves—and then some—by slashing costs and boosting efficiency.

    The Journal Report

    See the complete Business Insight report.

    How should companies approach the problem? To find out, we looked at green initiatives in one critical section of businesses, the corporate data center, and placed potential projects into four categories. At one end of the spectrum are obviously useful ideas that are simple and inexpensive. At the other end are expensive distractions that should be avoided at all costs. By figuring out which category an idea fits into, companies can better weigh the risk and potential return.

    The caveat that starts out is this system is dependent on the judgment by the CIO.

    One caveat. This system—based on an earlier model developed in collaboration with Prof. Leslie Willcocks from the London School of Economics—relies heavily on the judgment of a company's chief information officer. We assume the CIO is closely monitoring promising technologies and can evaluate their possible impact on the business.

    The four categories are.

    Here are the four categories.

    No-Brainers. In these cases, the green technology is a commodity. It not only cuts power use and emissions—thereby fulfilling its green mission—it's easy and cheap to obtain and implement. The bottom line: Companies should pursue these projects as soon as possible.

    Promising but Pricey. Here, the green technology is clearly useful but isn't yet popular enough to be a commodity.

    Business Opportunities. In some cases, green tech initiatives have the potential to win new business. One

    Distractions. When evaluating green projects, the vast majority of companies shouldn't try to keep up with industry titans.

    Click to read more ...

    Sunday
    Jan242010

    Private Clouds Dead or Alive, views from James Hamilton and Mike Manos, logic vs. emotional

    I’ve been thinking about what to write as a response to James Hamilton’s blog post on Private Clouds are not the Future.  It is well written and logical in its efficiency.

    Last week Alistair Croll wrote an excellent InformationWeek article arguing that “the true cloud operators will have an unavoidable cost advantage because it's all they worry about. They'll also be closer to consumers (because they have POPs everywhere and partnerships with content delivery systems), and connecting with consumers and partners will become an increasingly essential part of any enterprise IT strategy.” Have a look at Private Clouds are a Fix, Not the Future.

    Private clouds are better than nothing but an investment in a private cloud is an investment in a temporary fix that will only slow the path to the final destination: shared clouds. A decision to go with a private cloud is a decision to run lower utilization levels, consume more power, be less efficient environmentally, and to run higher costs.

    But  I am glad I waited, because Mike Manos posts his response to James’s posts and makes the case for private clouds. 

    Private Clouds – Not just a Cost and Technology issue, Its all about trust, the family jewels, corporate value, and identity

    January 24, 2010 by mmanos

    I recently read a post by my good friend James Hamilton at Amazon regarding Private Clouds.   James and I worked closely together at Microsoft and he was always a good source for out of the box thinking and challenging the status quo.    While James post found here, speaks to the Private Cloud initiative being what amounts to be an evolutionary dead end, I would have to respectfully disagree.

    I agree that there is more than the technical and economics benefits of shared clouds.  Human nature in trusting others and risk management are big factors in cloud computing adoption.

    But this brings up one of the key criticisms that this is not just about cost and technology.   I believe what is really at stake here is much more than that.

    Mike has a perspective many don’t.

    In my role at Digital I have visibility into tens of data centers, across hundreds of customers that span just about every industry.  There is not, nor has there been a massive move (or any move for that matter) to become more efficient in the utilization of their resources.   We have had years of people bantering about how wonderful, cool, and how revolutionary a lot of this stuff is, but world wide Data center utilization levels have remained abysmally low.   Some providers bank on this.  Over subscription of their facilities is part of their business plan.  They know companies will lease and take down what they think they need, and never take it down in REALITY.  

    and Mike Repeats a standard view that most likely many top executives have when looking at technology adoption like cloud computing.

    The cloud is an interesting place, today.  It is dominated by technologists.  Extremely smart engineering people who like to optimize and solve for technological challenges.  The actual business adoption of this technology set has yet to be fully explored.   Just wait until the “Business” side of the companies get their hooks into this technology set and start placing other artificial constraints, or optimizations around other factors.  There are thousands of different motivators out in the world.  Once they starts to happen earnest.  I think what you will find is a solution that looks more like a hybrid solution than the pure plays we dream about today.

    Is the Private Cloud Dead or Alive?

    I vote alive.

    Click to read more ...

    Sunday
    Jan242010

    Bill Gates goes Green Finally, podcast and investment in Khosla Ventures

    For past 3 years I’ve talked with a variety of people at Microsoft and the Gates Foundation about Bill’s interest in the environment and Green.  The resounding past answers has been “the environment is not on Bill’s priority list.

    I was skeptical when Bill launched his podcasts on Energy and Climate Change.  Listening to them I didn’t hear anything really mind blowing.

    What’s been on my mind lately

    Podcast Series: Energy and Climate Change

    Posted 01/20/2010
    Finding carbon-free energy sources that will provide affordable power for people around the globe is a complex and difficult issue. Bill shares his thoughts on the challenges of developing alternatives to fossil fuels.

    In this series of podcasts, Bill talks about why we need to develop new sources of energy that provide power without generating CO2. Among the topics he covers are the challenges with potential solutions such as carbon capture and sequestration, nuclear, wind, and solar; and why he believes the U.S. government should increase its funding for basic research in energy.
    To download the podcast as a .wma file for Windows Media Player, click below.
    1. Alternative energy Part 1
    2. Alternative energy Part 2
    3. Government’s role
    4. Learning about energy

    Click below to download this podcast series as an mp3.
    1. Alternative energy Part 1
    2. Alternative energy Part 2
    3. Government’s role
    4. Learning about energy

    But, today cnet news reports an Bill’s investment in Vinod Khosla green-tech firm.  Now that Bill has put his money in and he is hanging out with Vinod, I tihnk we can expect some big changes coming from Bill and the Gates Foundation.

    Bill Gates investing in Vinod Khosla green-tech fund

    by Martin LaMonica

    Bill Gates, whose philanthropy is aimed at improving the lives of people in poor countries, is also taking a interest in clean energy, both intellectually and financially.

    In an interview published Sunday, Gates said he has invested in Vinod Khosla's green-technology fund, which is aimed at incubating breakthrough technologies.

    "He is backing some great entrepreneurs. I get some exposure to them as part of that. Innovation is called for in a big way," Gates said.


    If you are not familiar with Khosla Ventures here is their site. I found Xsigo and Seamicro through his site.

    image

    Khosla Ventures has an interesting philosophy on what they can care about.

    the things we care about

    Making a difference is a core value of khosla ventures and we have pledged some of any investment proceeds to achieving this difference. In particular, Vinod will donate 100% of his general partner profit from khosla ventures to these and other similar causes. Some of our "social impact" interests also make for great businesses, such as alternative energy, or can at least be viable businesses ("no loss" self sustaining businesses that don't need continued outside support, they are impact maximizers instead of being profit maximizers) even if profit is not the primary goal, such as microfinance and affordable housing.

    Some of the organizations we support are below. Some of these are traditional non-profit efforts. Others are "for profit" organizations. When we "invest" in ventures with these partners, we will put the equity in a non-profit trust to achieve social impact

    • Microfinance - SKS, SHARE, ASA, CFTS, Jamii Bora Grameen USA, Unitus - with a goal to provide credit to over 25 million "below poverty line" borrowers. See also An Anti-Poverty Success Story; Video
    • Environment - GE Ecomagination Advisory Council, Chairman of India Advisory Board of the Cleantech Network
    • Education - Indian School of Business - a world class school of business, DonorsChoose.org - teachers ask for private funding on thousands of projects
    • Health - Public Health Institutes of India, UNICEF
    • ...others including eBay Giving Works - a marketplace for compassionate commerce supporting 9,000 charities

    Also, just found this list of Green Papers from Kholsa Ventures.  More for my reading list.  :-)

    green
    White Papers

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Jan222010

    Why Cloud Computing motivates green data center behavior

    I read a post on Cloud Computing made ridiculously easy.

    Making Cloud Computing Ridiculously Easy

    One small click for man, one giant cloud for mankind!

    BY CHRISTOPHER KEENE

    With all the hullabaloo about cloud computing, it is easy to get caught up in the trend of the day and miss the big picture. The big picture is that cloud computing disrupts the data center world by slashing the capital and skills required to deploy a web application.


    If that is the big prize, then most of what passes for news in cloud computing is more along the lines of "me speak cloud too."

    This ease of use and the business/economic model is driving the growth of Cloud Computing.

    Amazon Web Services Economics Center, comparing AWS/cloud computing vs co-location vs owned data center

    Amazon Web Services has a post on the Economics of AWS.

    The Economics of AWS

    For the past several years, many people have claimed that cloud computing can reduce a company's costs, improve cash flow, reduce risks, and maximize revenue opportunities. Until now, prospective customers have had to do a lot of leg work to compare the costs of a flexible solution based on cloud computing to a more traditional static model. Doing a genuine "apples to apples" comparison turns out to be complex — it is easy to neglect internal costs which are hidden away as "overhead".

    After watching multiple presentations and efforts to get people to measure their energy consumption in the data center, I am ready to throw in the towel on changing human behavior in this area.  Not to say energy monitoring shouldn’t be done, but moving beyond the current user base is difficult.

    Here is an example to think about when consumers get their bills what amount of attention do they spend on their credit card bill vs. their electricity bill? 10 to 1?  20 to 1?  Maybe 100 to 1.  It is ingrained in human behavior to look at the money more than the electricity.

    The Cloud Computing infrastructure is getting easier too even though his article makes it seem difficult.

    Today, cloud development and deployment is still the exclusive domain of highly paid web experts and just as highly paid hosting providers and systems administrators. As much as cloud providers like Amazon and Rackspace have done to simplify web hosting and eliminate people from the equation, it still takes far too much expertise and effort to get applications built and deployed in the cloud.


    The goal of cloud computing is to make web development and deployment something that any bum can do and charge in on their credit card with nary a care in the world.

    In fact, I think it is easier to get people to discuss cloud computing infrastructure than energy monitoring infrastructure. 

    Eucalyptus provides AWS compatible infrastructure.

    Eucalyptus turns data center resources such as machines, networks, and storage systems into a cloud that is controlled and customized by local IT. Eucalyptus is the only cloud architecture to support the same application programming interfaces (APIs) as public clouds, and today Eucalyptus is fully compatible with the Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure.

    If you want Google Application Engine Cloud Computing compatibility than there is AppScale.

    AppScale is an open-source implementation of the Google AppEngine (GAE) cloud computing interface from the RACELab at UC Santa Barbara. AppScale enables execution of GAE applications on virtualized cluster systems. In particular, AppScale enables users to execute GAE applications using their own clusters with greater scalability and reliability than the GAE SDK provides. Moreover, AppScale executes automatically and transparently over cloud infrastructures such as the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Eucalyptus, the open-source implementation of the AWS interfaces.

    If you going to manage the Cloud there is RightScale.

    The RightScale Cloud Management Platform

    Overview

    RightScale is the leading provider of cloud management solutions that enable you to design, deploy, manage, and automate business-critical applications on the cloud. To date, hundreds of thousands of deployments have been launched on the RightScale Cloud Management Platform – running everything from scalable websites to complex grid applications. Cloud computing represents a tidal shift in the way IT infrastructure operates, enabling greater agility and lower costs across company sizes. RightScale delivers the power of the cloud to every business.

    I’ve already blogged about Elastra’s management tools.

    1. Is Elastra one of Amazons Cloud Computing infrastructure tools? An ...

      Jan 19, 2010 ... I plan on having a meeting with Elastra next week when I am in the bay area. I wrote about their tools last week. Elastra's Cloud Computing ...
      www.greenm3.com/.../is-elastra-one-of-amazons-cloud-computing-infrastructure-tools-an-awesome-pdf-to-understand-a-better-approach-to-...

    2. Elastras Cloud Computing Application Infrastructure = Green IT ...

      Jan 14, 2010 ... Elastra connects the power use in the data center to the application architects and deployment decision makers. Plan Composer function lets ...
      www.greenm3.com/.../elastras-cloud-computing-application-infrastructure-green-it-with-a-model-approach.html

    And in fact Elastra can be used as power metrics tool in cloud computing.

    Plan Composer function lets customers set their own policies based on application needs and specific power metrics (such as wattage, PUE, number of cores, etc.). Therefore, if an application requires 4GB of RAM and two cores for optimal performance, and if the customer is concerned with straight wattage, Elastra’s product will automatically route it to the lowest-power 4GB, dual-core virtual machine available.

    So, I think it will be easier to create greener data centers riding the momentum for cloud computing deployments than educating the masses on the benefits of energy monitoring in the data center.

    Keep in mind the goal of green/energy metrics is to change behavior.  Not to sell energy monitoring solutions.

    Click to read more ...