Mar 29, 2008

"Earth Hour" in Your Data Center?

On March 29, nearly 60 million people worldwide switched off their lights for one hour in order to show their concern for global warming. (Complete story) From Sydney to San Francisco, people manually turned off lights in office buildings, street signs, and homes. This symbolic gesture was intended to focus attention on rising carbon emissions from human sources, such as office buildings.

I'm sure there were plenty of idle servers on Saturday that could have participated in "Earth Hour." There are probably some idle servers right now in your data center (or engineering lab) that could be powered down. Most data centers are sized for peak traffic/workload that is generally 5-10 times the average traffic/workload. And once you get outside the production environment, there are even more servers in dev/test environments and engineering labs. And you know that those servers aren't being used 24x7.

What if you could power off those idle servers when they're not needed? Better yet, what if your data center or engineering lab could power down idle servers and then power on additional servers as they're needed? The solution is here today and easy to implement. (Read more)

Mar 12, 2008

Building a New Data Center Ain't Easy (or Cheap)

Recently, InformationWeek published photos from Google's newest data center that is being constructed in Iowa. (Yes, Iowa.) The two-year project started last year and will cost $600 million. Now that's a lot of click-throughs to cover the construction cost!

I've been involved in some discussions with a customer who's also maxed out their data-center capacity. They still have floor space in the data center, but they've run out of power. And they're in one of those states where electricity is cheap and plentiful. However, the cost of pulling power into the data center will still cost into the high 6-figures (and that's dollars not Yen).

So they're exploring ways to use their data center resources more efficiently. As they deploy new applications, they deploy more servers. (Sound familiar?) However, not all those apps are needed at the same time. Some apps are provisioned to support the maximum traffic. Other apps are cyclical ones that are only during certain time periods.

So this customer has realized that they can still deploy more applications (and servers) by powering off servers that are not needed. This is an easy step that can be done without changing any of their infrastructure or changing the way they deploy their applications. So, they're able to get more headroom out of their existing data center without having to build a new one. Remember, not everyone has a $400 stock!