A Catchy Tune…but the Lyrics Suck

The EPA has released its findings on Data Center power consumption, which really focuses on the (in)efficacy of its Energy Star program.  According to the gov, data centers and servers today account 61 billion kWh annually or 1.5% of the nation’s power usage. The federal government is responsible for 10% of that use. They anticipate a doubling of power requirements by 2011 if nothing changes. This from Computerworld‘s report on the report on Friday….   

The rise in power consumption parallels the growth of the Internet, online commerce and the pervasiveness of IT in almost every aspect of life. From a technology perspective, the systems most responsible for gobbling up power are the relatively low-cost x86 servers — called volume servers in the report and by the industry — and typically running with one to two physical processors.

There are efforts under way by industry groups and the EPA to develop a metric to allow IT managers to compare power use against workloads for these lower-end servers. The EPA is also interested in seeing development of a standard that would allow IT managers to measure the total power consumption against the power consumed inside a data center, giving data center managers a benchmark to use.


GreenDataProject.org coming soon!

The Computerworld article goes on…

Some data center power reduction efforts will likely take new construction of a data center, but state-of-the art technologies, coupled with best practices — including aggressive server and storage consolidation, power management, liquid cooling, among other things — could reduce a data center’s energy usage by 55%. These gains can be achieved without compromising data center performance, the EPA said.

But the EPA also outlines the barriers to adoption of these improvements, such as a separation of responsibility between the IT manager and facilities managers. The facilities manager pays the utility bill, the IT manager does not. The EPA said this splits the incentives for reducing power consumption.

Once again, the focus here is on equipment and facilities, not on data management.  You can almost hear leading storage companies talking through the report.  “Consolidate storage” is a mantra (aka buy a SAN).  My bullshit meter is on orange. 

Oh, and I love the part where they observe that the “industry” will develop a power consumption benchmark to help managers know what the power consumption is of the equipment they are buying.  Are we talking about SNIA here?  Maybe they can wrap it in an object oriented schema…

Why do you need a metric for this?  Isn’t it — like — Electricity 101?

And why is the Computerworld article entitled “US Needs More Power…” ?  Seems like I was just reading another report that said that we have emphasized power generation, but spent very little on power distribution, mainly because no utility company wants to own the headaches (or lawsuits) associated with high power lines and their implied connection with so-called “cancer clusters.”  (By the way, if you really want to see government-industry-education-social activism at odds, do a Google on Cancer Clusters. Europe and New Zealand claim the connection exists, but in the US it has been “disproven” as often as it has been “proven.”)  With billions of dollars at stake (the cost to bury transmission lines underground), who knows who’s zoomin’ who?  I am waiting for the inevitable Michael Moore vid and ex-US Vice Presidential PowerPoint presentation.

Look, are we serious about green IT or just trying to sell more gear?   I like the tune, but I am starting to hate the lyrics. 

Maybe the Green Data Project can make a difference when it launches this week.  Stay tuned. 

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.