Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Links - 08/14/2007

What I Learned at NGDC: Technology is Ready, Users are Not (GridToday: Derrick Harris): I worked the Next Generation Data Center show (which was piggybacked on LinuxWorld this year), and have also spent the last 18 months trying to convince system administrators to adopt NGDC practices. What Derrick says here generally rings true, though he is perhaps more skeptical than I would be at this point. Of course, if we could make it easier to get started in the NGDC world...stay tuned.

In search of the green data center (statesman.com: Brian Bergstein [AP]): If there is one statement that clearly defines the resistance of most system administrators to simple energy savings practices, such as--oh, I don't know--turning off unused servers, it is the following:
"There are probably two key metrics for the IT guy: 'no downtime' — if the boss's e-mail doesn't work, he hears about it right away — and 'no security breaches on my watch,' " says Eric Birch, executive vice president of Degree Controls Inc., which sells a system that increases electronics cooling efficiency. "They normally do not know, don't care and aren't measured by their electric bill."
Man, how true, how true. Guess what folks, in environments like dev/test labs where "no downtime" is not the same as "no loss of productivity", its time to change our view. SLAuto can be used to automate the power state of servers based on a variety of policies, including schedules, utility events and even--oh, I don't know--extended disuse.

This article also mentions a variety of good technologies to look at if you are building a power-efficient data center.

SaaS invades enterprise software markets (ZDNet: Phil Wainewright): One of the reason SaaS vendors are making some headway (though not on all fronts, according to the article), is the fact that ERP apps require lots of expensive infrastructure and operational support. In fact, these inefficiently coded processing hogs make up a huge part of many IT department operations budgets, and probably register a significant impact on the Facilities budget, as well. SaaS is one form of utility computing that mitigates those costs for businesses that don't want to be in the IT operations business. Stating the obvious for many, I am sure, but one question that comes out of the practice is how will these SaaS users protect themselves from failing infrastructure that they don't own?

(SearchCIO.com): The early reviews are in, and this report seems far from a home run. However, it is a start, and that even debate over its effectiveness can only help make us more aware of power consumption issues. What is really interesting is the view that several interviewees had that software was a big part of the problem:

"Boergermann said the software industry should share in the responsibility in reducing power consumption. For example, many business applications require huge amounts of server processor capacity to run simple tasks, which cause servers to consume more energy. Boergermann said he has one application that manages his bank's property appraisals. He said just scrolling through a window causes the application to use 100% of its server's capacity. He said an application shouldn't hog so much energy for such a simple task...

...Gartner's Kumar, who said he generally admires the decades-long energy efficiency efforts by leading hardware vendors, especially HP and IBM, also wondered why the Microsofts, Oracles and SAPs of the computing industry have gotten off easily."

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