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    Green Software Unconference, Aug 19, 2009 - DCeP

    Just saw tomorrow, Aug 19  is an unconference on Green Software in SJ.

    An Unconference About Green Software: Exploring Its Meaning and Applications
    by Zen Kishimoto

    The Green Software Unconference is scheduled for August 19 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Since this is an unconference, there is no set agenda or program. But its theme is clear: What is green software and what can we do with it?

    As everyone knows, IT includes many elements, such as hardware, software, systems, services, and staffs.  Yet, when it comes to green IT, most of the focus has been on hardware. For example, one aspect of green IT is to cut power consumption. When you consider the power consumption of IT equipment, you measure power consumption by hardware devices, such as servers, even though hardware devices consist of both hardware and software. Most discussions have centered on how to make hardware devices more energy efficient. The well-known data center metric PUE (power usage effectiveness) primarily concerns hardware. The newer and supposedly better metric DCeP (data center energy productivity) still measures hardware performance alone, although software running on a hardware box may make a big difference in energy efficiency.

    If anyone attends, feel free to contact me and I’ll write see if I can write a blog entry.

    Click to read more ...


    Follow the Cheap Energy, Software Routes Internet Traffic to Slash Costs

    MIT’s Technology Review has an article on an Internet-routing algorithm that adapts to energy prices.

    Energy-Aware Internet Routing

    Software that tracks electricity prices could slash energy costs for big online businesses.

    By Will Knight

    MONDAY, AUGUST 17, 2009

    • An Internet-routing algorithm that tracks electricity price fluctuations could save data-hungry companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon millions of dollars each year in electricity costs. A study from researchers at MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and the networking company Akamai suggests that such Internet businesses could reduce their energy use by as much as 40 percent by rerouting data to locations where electricity prices are lowest on a particular day.

    Data beast: Google maintains a huge datacenter in The Dalles, OR.
    Credit: John Nelson

    Modern datacenters gobble up huge amounts of electricity and usage is increasing at a rapid pace. Energy consumption has accelerated as applications move from desktop computers to the Internet and as information gets transferred from ordinary computers to distributed "cloud" computing services. For the world's biggest information-technology firms, this means spending upwards of $30 million on electricity every year, by modest estimates.

    The researchers worked with Akamai to test their ideas.

    Asfandyar Qureshi, a PhD student at MIT, first outlined the idea of a smart routing algorithm that would track electricity prices to reduce costs in a paper presented in October 2008. This year, Qureshi and colleagues approached researchers at Akamai to obtain the real-world routing data needed to test the idea. Akamai's distributed servers cache information on behalf of many large Web sites across the US and abroad, and process some 275 billion requests per day; while the company does not require many large datacenters itself, its traffic data provides a way to model the demand placed on large Internet companies.

    The researchers first analyzed 39 months of electricity price data collected for 29 major US cities. Energy prices fluctuate for a variety of reasons, including seasonal changes in supply, fuel price hikes, and changes in consumer demand, and the researchers saw a surprising amount of volatility, even among geographically close locations.

    The interesting insight is there was no site that was always cheapest.

    "The thing that surprised me most was that there was no one place that was always cheapest," says Bruce Maggs, vice president of research at Akamai, who contributed to the project while working as a professor at Carnegie Mellon and is currently a professor at Duke University. "There are large fluctuations on a short timescale."

    Keep in mind this is cost reduction, not energy reduction.

    Maggs cautions that the idea is not guaranteed to reduce energy usage or pollution, only energy costs. "The paper is not about saving energy but about saving cost, although there are some ways to do both," he says. "You have to hope that those are aligned."

    And they reached out to Digital Realty Trust’s Mike Manos to get his view.

    Michael Manos, senior vice president of Digital Realty Trust, a company that designs, builds, and manages large datacenters, believes that the lack of elasticity currently built into modern hardware makes it impossible to achieve the improvements suggested.

    "It is great research but there are some base fundamental problems with the initial assumptions, which would prevent the type of savings they present," Manos says. Because most servers aren't used to capacity, he says, "you just can't get there."

    However, Manos does see plenty of room for improvement in datacenter designs. "I believe the datacenter industry is just beginning to enter into a Renaissance of sorts," he says. "Technology, economic factors, and a new breed of datacenter managers are forcing change into the industry. It's a great time to be involved."

    Click to read more ...


    Google’s Data Center Efficiency Implies Greener Email

    Here is an article where the writer takes into DataCenterKnowledge and Google’s PUE  calculations to imply gmail is greener than most other email systems.

    Let’s start with the DataCenterKnowledge content.

    So how do you, a single consumer use Gmail to lower your carbon footprint?  Well Google has achieved extremely good Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) levels (see: the site “Data Center Knowledge“).  PUE is the ratio of total energy in to your data center, divided by the energy used by your IT technology.  A perfect PUE ratio would be 1, this would indicate that all of the energy used by your data center is used only to drive the IT.  Nothing to cool it, light it, etc.   Since that is about as realistic as perpetual motion, Google has set the standard of excellence right now at a PUE of about 1.1.  They measure PUE daily, and have some data centers down to ratios of 1.11.  They are not the only ones striving for efficiencies.  Microsoft’s newest data center approaches are also getting very efficient.  They report a global average PUE of 1.60.

    So what does this really mean?  According to Google, their data centers are roughly 2x as energy efficient as other data centers (imagine one you run yourself, Google’s will be twice as energy efficient).  In addition to their energy efficiencies, they also recycle the water used for cooling their components.  Re-using their cooling water makes Google’s data centers even more environmentally friendly – and better re-use of water is another one of Google’s priorities as they evolve their data centers.

    Then web based email perspective.

    Lifehacker recently announced the results of a survey of their readers regarding e-mail.  54% indicated they prefer to manage e-mail on the web, versus just 24% who prefer a desktop email client.  20% prefer a hybrid approach (see “Web-based e-mail slaughters Its Desktop Counterparts“).

    Web-based e-mail is preferred for lots of reasons.  With this note I’ll highlight one you might not have considered yet.  Web-based e-mail can be better for the environment.

    The author credits google for driving data center efficiency.

    Google has been the driving force behind Data Center and Server efficiency and optimization for the last few years.  They have been using a variety of means to lower data center energy use (detailed at Google’s Going Green site).   The gist of it is that they use water evaporation, streamlined electrical infrastructure, and minimized technology requirements to curb their energy desires.  They even take the Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) out of their servers to lessen energy requirements.

    You can argue with various points with this, but the author can write what he thinks is the truth, and 600 people have read this post.

    One good question he poses.

    Power Usage Effectiveness

    Ask your ISP for their PUE

    Click to read more ...


    How big was the coverage of my post on Olivier Sanche? Google Search Result #9 for “data centers”

    What was bigger news Olivier Sanche leaving eBay for Apple or Mike Manos leaving Microsoft for Digital Realty Trust.  For my traffic it was Olivier Sanche.

    One interesting metric for at this exact moment, Google Search “data centers” and my post for Olivier shows up #9. 

    Pretty cool #9 out of 34,200,000.


    Results 1 - 10 of about 34,200,000 for data centers. (0.20 seconds)

    Search Results

    1. Data center - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    2. A data center or datacenter (or datacentre), also called a server farm, is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, ... - Cached - Similar -

    3. The Data Center Journal - Where IT, Facilities and Design Meet - Home
      - 2 visits - Aug 12

      The Data Center Journal is the only portal for the data center industry that provides information and services for the three groups that help make a data ... - Cached - Similar -

    4. DatacenterDynamics - No.1 global data center events
      - 6 visits - Jul 19

      DatacenterDynamics delivers knowledge and networking opportunities to professionals that design, build and operate data centers through a combination of ... - Cached - Similar -

    5. Google container data centertour
      7 min

      Google Datacenters
      4 min 36 sec

    6. Data Center Knowledge: Data centers, design, power, cooling
      - 3 visits - Jun 10

      Aug 17, 2009 ... Breaking news and analysis about data centers, including data centerdesign, data center power and cooling, data center management, ...
      About Us - Older Articles - Facebook - Quincy, Wash - 3 hours ago - Cached - Similar -

    7. Data Center - Network World - Network World

      The Data Center research center is your source for the latest server, storage and data center news, analysis and research from Network World. - Cached - Similar -

    8. Data Center Map

      Data Center Map is your guide to finding the right colocation data center facility, whether you need hosting for one server, one rack or a cage. - Similar -

    9. Green Data Center Blog: Apple Recruits eBay Data Center Executive ...

      Aug 10, 2009 ... I have been lucky to meet eBay's Sr. Director, Data Center Services & Strategy, Olivier Sanche at a variety of data center events and ... - Similar -

    10. Census State Data Centers

      Feb 2, 2009 ... The State Data Center (SDC) Program is one of the Census Bureau's longest and most successful partnerships. It is a cooperative program ... - Cached - Similar -

    11. Blog posts about data centers

      Inhabitat » World's First LEED Platinum Data Center Opens in Germany - INHABITAT - Aug 3, 2009

      In the New Data Center, It's Roofs Off and Taxes Down - Bits Blog ... - Bits - 13 hours ago

      A Closer Look at Dell's Double-Decker Containers « Data Center ... - Data Center Knowledge - 12 hours ago

    Click to read more ...


    HP Thinks Data Centers are Just the Start

    HP’s Shane Robinson has a Forbes commentary on HP’s efforts in energy efficient data centers.


    HP Rethinks Energy

    Shane Robison, 08.17.09, 06:00 AM EDT

    Data centers are just the start.


    Shane Robison

    In Wynyard, a small village on the northeastern coast of England, a non-descript warehouse contains the kernel of a revolutionary approach to the energy crisis.
    Inside, Hewlett-Packard is building one of the most powerful--and sustainable--data centers in the world. We've deployed industry-standard hardware to democratize the massive computing power once trapped in mainframes. Automation and virtualization enable that power to be flexed, scaled and shared. Intelligent software translates the raw data captured into meaningful information.
    But that's just the beginning. We've applied a systems approach to the entire building and its surrounding environment, from the sensors used to light the rows of servers to the roof that will collect runoff rainwater for landscaping and fire protection. And we're leveraging the cold wind blowing off the North Sea to lower temperatures of the information technology (IT) equipment. We anticipate energy savings of 40%. When complete, the facility will be one of the largest and most efficient in Europe.

    As a technology company, HP promotes the idea technology has a role to replace carbon intensive uses.

    But ultimately, the goal is making the world lighter, also called "dematerialization." Information technology can help replace energy-intensive and carbon-heavy methods--with basic materials, business processes or entire business models. Think of how the digital transformation has completely redefined the production and distribution of music.

    One set of numbers I hadn’t seen is this one.

    By 2012, all of the servers in the world will use as much power as was used by all of Mexico in 2007. Breakthroughs in photonics allow us to use light instead of copper wire to transmit data. Not only can we reduce the use of natural resources, we can dramatically reduce energy consumption, taking another step forward from the work we've done at Wynyard.

    Click to read more ...