Microsoft CIO Uses MPG Analogy for Problem with Green IT

Ran across this post by Microsoft’s CIO Tony Scott on

You are here for an environmental conference, EcoForum. I'm curious what is going on in that area? I know power is a big issue
Scott: Most CIOs have come to recognize that both their employees and the customers of the company want to know that the company that they are either working for or buying products from is acting in an ecologically responsible way and that you take these issues seriously. From a Microsoft standpoint, we have some great products on virtualization. We're also here talking about that and here learning what other companies are doing.

In our own space we've gone from 8 percent to 25 percent virtualization in our data centers in just a year. Next year we think we are going to hit 50 percent. That's as dramatic a progress as I've seen, any company anywhere.

One of the things I am convinced of is that the entire technology community is going to have to come together to solve some of these issues. I came out of automotive. There was a day when if you wanted to know car gas mileage you had to write down the mileage, then drive and write down the mileage again. Then you went to the gas station and did long division to figure out what your gas mileage was. Eventually as the world got interested in this a chip got built in every car. Most cars have a chip built in to tell you what your miles per gallon is.

We don't have the functional equivalent to that in the IT world. As a CIO, you really want to know, what is this app costing me, all up? It's the people resources and the energy costs. The tools to do it are emerging but we are not there yet.

It shouldn't be that hard. If the technology community works together and develops the right standards and interfaces, one day you will be able to say here's my compute factor or my miles per gallon in terms of the technologies we use. With that we should be able to do a better job of managing our resources. I'm hopeful we could get that done.

With all Microsoft’s talk on PUE the data is in the data center on power consumed by servers.

The next step is getting the applications to calculate power used to complete the work, publishing a watts per unit of work.

Hopefully one of these days the application developers will pull their head out of a feature focused view, and think about resources they consume.