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    Thursday
    Sep242009

    Apple’s environmental impact accounts for everything

    news.com has an article on Apple’s latest environment site update.

    Apple updates site with environmental impact

    by Jim Dalrymple

    Apple on Thursday updated its Web site with a new section on how its products are impacting the environment.

    Apple has made public information in several categories including Life Cycle Impact, Product Usage Impact, andProduct Environmental Reports. The company also created a section dedicated to its own environmental updates.

    Taking a look at the power management section will give you an idea of how extensive the information is that Apple provided. According to Apple, Mac OS X even regulates the processor in between keystrokes, saving power.

    "Designing green products includes considering the environmental impact of the materials used to make them," reads Apple's Web site. "From the glass, plastic, and metal in our products to the paper and ink in our packaging, our goal is to continue leading the industry in reducing or eliminating environmentally harmful substances."

    Going to the Apple environment site here is the life cycle view.

     

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    Apple’s data center impact is included in 3 percent reporting for facilities.

    Facilities

    Apple’s facilities — including corporate offices, distribution hubs, data centers, and retail stores — account for 3 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions.

    Facilities

    275,718 metric tons of
    greenhouse gas emissions

    Apple reports 53% of the energy consumption

    Energy Efficiency

    Because 53 percent of Apple’s greenhouse gas emissions are a result of the power our products consume, we design those products to be as energy efficient as possible.

    Outlet icon for Energy-efficient design

     

    The Three Ways to Reduce Energy ConsumptionEnergy Efficiency Beoyond on And Off

    15-inch MacBook Pro 2.8GHz using the Pages application.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Sep242009

    Intel Labs – Future of Energy Efficiency Processors – Self-Tuning Performance

    I learned more than I thought I would at Intel Developer Forum. There was a lot of excitement about the latest processors and news.com has thorough coverage of IDF.

    IDF 2009: Intel plays to its strengths

    by CNET News staff

    At the annual developer forum, Intel shows off what it can do with silicon and what to look forward to from systems built around its chips.

    Intel unveils system-on-a-chip for TVs
    The CE4100 is designed to bring Internet content and services to digital TVs, DVD players, and advanced set-top boxes.
    (Posted in Nanotech: The Circuits Blog by Brooke Crothers)
    September 24, 2009 1:30 PM PDT
    Intel's Maloney: Our business is do or die
    Sean Maloney, a favorite to eventually become Intel's CEO, says there are good reasons the chipmaker is pushing back against Europe's antitrust charges.
    (Posted in Nanotech: The Circuits Blog by Brooke Crothers)
    September 24, 2009 10:26 AM PDT

    With all the hype, I was filtering, looking for something really game changing.  Something that will change things to be more efficient.  I found it in a booth staffed by Intel Labs stuck in the back of the exhibit area where Shih-Lien Lu was demonstrating Self-Tuning Processors.

    image

    By modifying Vcc Voltage  and clock frequency, the processor can be set up for energy efficiency or performance.

    How big?  21% more throughput or 37% less power!!!

    image

    And there is a middle ground of 5% better performance and 28% less power.

    image

    Here is the prototype board.

    image

    There must be a catch to why isn’t Intel shipping this concept already.

    Because it requires a different mindset for the market and users.  The below diagram shows the Vcc Voltage and Temperature Fclk guardband typically existing for processors.  There is a margin of safety to insure Intel Processors reliability over a 7 year period.  Huh?  But, what if I don’t want seven years?  Welcome to the problem with enterprise computing.  Lowest common denominator type of thinking to reach the market masses means you get burdened with conservative designs.

    What happens if you only wanted a guardband designed for a 3 year period?  You could in theory do what Intel Lab shows and have lower Vcc voltages with higher clock frequencies, but  this would require Intel marketing and finance to rethink how they price processors.  What is the value of a 7 to 3 year change in product reliability?

    image

    Why go through all this effort? 

    1. Do you want a 21% performance improvement for the same power?
    2. Do you want to save 37% processor power for the same performance?
    3. Do you want 5% more performance for 28% less processor power?

    Sound confusing.  Yes it will make customer procurement process complaints increase as they are handed a performance energy design envelope.

    This is another example of the Flaw of Averages where people want a single number when in reality there is a distribution of performance.

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Sep232009

    Intel Developer Forum presentation Social Networks and Innovation, a new method for data centers

    Intel Developer Forum is a big technical media event.  There are lots to see and the media coverage is huge.  Here is a partial picture of the media room as people are busy writing about Intel’s latest announcements.  This room can hold over 200 people and it is full.

    image

    While I was in the media room I missed the most useful presentation of the day.  Below is a picture of Eleanor Wynn, Social Technology Architect and Principal Engineer, Intel Corporation, staffing the booth for IT-CMF

    image 

    I caught Eleanor moving, and here is a better picture.

    eleanor

    What is IT-CMF?

    IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF)

    Ran across an interesting piece of work out of Intel Corp. The IT Capability Maturity Framework trys to take a stab at a common problem. What attracted me to this framework was the business oriented approach this framework takes. But after digging through their site I was hungry for more information. I couldn't find much more information besides a high level explanation. They do have a sample assessment out there that give you a better idea of the framework.

    From IT-CMF Website:

    From the synthesis of leading academic research, proven industry best practices and Intel's own experience in transforming the Intel IT organisation, Intel developed the IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF). Based on the lack of existing frameworks and the huge appetite from other top Business and IT executives for such an approach, Intel has decided that the best way to further develop and disseminate the IT-CMF, its associated tools and practices is to have it included as part of IVI’s research and education agenda.

    The IT-CMF consists of four integrated strategies:

    So, this is cool, but then I realized I missed Eleanor’s presentation on Social Networks.

    What does Social Networks have to do with data centers?  Social Networks characterize the behavior in the data center system for those companies/people who are doing the most innovative work.

    image

    Eleanor and I had a chance to talk for 3 hours at IDF, so I learned a lot even though I missed her presentation.  One big concept which was helpful to describe issues is the “tribal knowledge” in IT vs. meme.

    : an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

    Which gets to my point of why Social Networks and Memes are important characteristics in Innovative Green Data Centers.

    image

    The most innovative people in data centers are networked to share and receive ideas.

    image

    The social network enabled organizations know this.

    image 

    Your head may hurt with these concepts, but here is summary to help you.  My head hurts a little bit too, but I’ve been playing with these ideas for a while, and luckily I can follow up with Eleanor.

    image 

    Some of the most innovative data center people are figuring out how to build their data center social networks as a competitive advantage.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Sep222009

    Fanless Atom Small Form Factor, Servers Too?

    Intel Developer forum has a presentation on a fanless small form factor design based on the next Atom processor.

    image

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    Seems like you could have a fanless Atom Server.

    And, there is a session on Windows Home Server built on Intel Atom.

    Session Title:
    Designing a World Class Windows* Home Server using Intel® Atom™ Processors

    Length:
    50 min

    Level:
    Intermediate

    Abstract:
    In this session...
    • Receive a detailed understanding of the Windows* Home Server logo requirements and Consumer Storage Platform features
    • Learn about Intel Storage Group’s next generation Intel® Atom™ Processor based platform
    • Understand how additional platform features like Storage BIOS, drivers, and system software help OEMs quickly launch a state-of-art system
    • Review the Intel® Storage Small Form Factor motherboard specification
    • Take a detailed walk through the Intel Storage Small Form Factor reference system to understand the various design decisions and how Storage Group’s platform technologies make this an excellent Consumer Home Server design
    • Walk through the various ways to extend the Windows Home Server platform with software add-ins

    Speaker:
    Stephen Murtha Strategic Platform Marketing
    Intel Corporation
    Mark Pendergrast Senior Product Manager
    Microsoft Corporation

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Sep222009

    TechHermit Returns with New Authors, Speculates the end of Microsoft’s Data Center Program

    DataCenterKnowledge spreads the word TechHermit’s blog continues.

    Tech Hermit Blog Returns

    September 22nd, 2009 : Rich Miller

    Back in July I noted the passing of Shane McGew, who wrote about the data center industry at his Tech Hermit blog. So I was surprised to find new posts at the Tech Hermit blog this week.

    Here’s the story: “Today we are announcing that through detailed negotiations with the McGew family a group of avid readers have purchased the rights to the Tech Hermit brand and will continue to post under this heading and keep the same edgy feedback that we came to love with Shane. We hope to earn the same level of trust and respect in time.”

    Shane was always pretty plugged into goings-on in data center operations at Microsoft, a trend that continues with the new team (whose members remain anonymous). A post today notes the departure of another Microsoft data center executive, Joel Stone, who is headed to Global Switch. Stone’s departure follows the exit of Global Foundation Services corporate VP Debra Chrapaty, who is off to Cisco.

    TechHermit’s latest blog entry speculates on the future of Microsoft’s data center program.

    More Bad News for Microsoft Data Center Program

    September 22, 2009

    Following on the terrible blow that Debra Chrapaty is leaving Microsoft for greener pastures at Cisco, the program received another huge blow with the resignation of Joel Stone who was responsible for the Operations of all North America based facilities.  Moreover, he is taking a prominent position at Global Switch overseeing worldwide data center operations and will be based out of the United Kingdom.

    His resignation letter begins with:

    “It is with mixed emotions that i have decided to leave Microsoft after 9 years.  I consider the time, successes, failures, challenges, personal growth and friendships that I have gained to be something that I will appreciate and treasure for years to come.   I will be moving to London to take on the Group Operations Director role at Global Switch”

    Then the TechHermit staff speculates.

    The many mails we have received here at Tech Hermit feel that these resignations have more to do with a failure or at least troubled integration with the various Yahoo executives integrating into the program.   As you may know, Dayne Sampson, and Kevin Timmons from Yahoo recently joined the Microsoft GFS organization the latter having responsibilities for Data Center Operations previously run by General Manager, Michael Manos.

    One thing is clear that after the departure of Manos, the only real voice from Microsoft around infrastructure leadership was Chrapaty.   With her departure and now key operations leadership as well, we have to ask is Microsoft’s data center program done for?

    The style of this blog reminds of the infamous Mini-Microsoft blog.

    Click to read more ...