Green Computing is an area that isn’t very well-understood by the average computer user. And this is understandable.
– If processors are constantly becoming more efficient, wouldn’t it make sense that they use less energy?
– And if that’s the case, wouldn’t Green Computing just take care of itself over time? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way.
– When gas is cheaper, do you drive the same amount and pocket the savings?
– When Internet bandwidth got faster, did you finish browsing the web in less time?
– When hard drive storage got denser, did you store the same amount of data in a smaller space?
Of course not, you maxed out these resources… just like you always did before. And this also applies to businesses in the same way that it applies to individuals. When processors get more efficient, they also get smaller. That means that businesses can run heavier applications, and IT departments can fit more servers into a smaller area.
Old fashioned servers were big, slow, clunky boxes that emitted a bit of warmth. But today’s modern servers are tightly bundled blades of red-hot power. And in order to combat this heat, modern servers also need robust cooling systems that consume even more electricity.
It’s gotten so bad that – within the past few years – companies have begun counting electricity costs as part of their total cost of ownership (TCO) for IT.
But there’s more to green computing than just hydro bills. Datacenters can only handle so much power consumption before the servers overwhelm their electrical wiring. Once this limit is reached, expensive renovations are required in order to expand capacity. (The cost/square foot for datacenters is extremely high)
Finally, companies have to tackle the exponential nature of power consumption growth. Throwing money at the problem may work for the short term, but if power consumption doubles in the next 2 years… and doubles again 2 years after that… there is no way that any company can sustain this rate of spending indefinitely.
The only way to fight power consumption and resource constraints – without hitting the limits of exponential growth – is to go about IT planning and energy management in a smarter way.
This is the challenge that IT managers face when tackling the issue of “green computing”. The problem is a very difficult one, and innovative new approaches are being introduced every day.
Author Profile: Paul Rudo writes about enterprise computing topics at EnterpriseFeatures.com. If you’d like to learn more about business computing, you might want to check out his blog.