Data Center Efficiencies Lead To Environmental Conservation

Who knew that computers would one day eat up so much energy that making them more efficient would be a significant pathway to environmental conservation? But apparently that idea is making the rounds of corporate boardrooms, and gaining some traction.

For example, Google's much-discussed "Instant" search capability, which was first offered in mid-September, 2010, is primarily billed as a way to provide Internet searchers with faster responses to their online inquiries. As you type your search terms, Google's servers now seek to anticipate what you are looking for and provide you with results on an ongoing basis. The goal is to reduce processing time for each inquiry from an average of four seconds to an average of two seconds.

Sounds like small potatoes, but that improvement will save Google about 350 million hours of processing time each year. The net result will be far less need for electrical power, air conditioning, and eventually facilities and equipment, all of which will not only benefit the company, but which will produce massive amounts of environmental conservation.

Separately, IBM Corporation has committed to spending upwards of $1 billion to disseminate new technologies and computer-control services that are intended to make computing centers, not just Google's, but many others', much more energy efficient. The IBM idea is to retrofit its own data centers, and those its customers operate, with a variety of power-saving systems. This is an important initiative because IBM operates more than eight million square feet of data centers around the world, every one of them a potential energy hog.

Among the technologies that IBM is using to make data centers responsible for more environmental conservation is technology  that allows one computer to substitute for several different devices, and some new software that keeps servers in their power-saving standby mode for longer periods of time. IBM has also been installing high technology liquid-cooling systems that actually capture the heat generated by computers and allow it to be used to produce additional electrical power.

This emphasis on redesigning and retrofitting data centers to facilitate more environmental conservation reflects a growing change among corporations to make environmental concerns part of their business strategies.

With heavy hitters like Google and IBM paying more attention to energy efficiencies and environmental conservation, and actively reaching out to others to help them emulate these changes, more and more companies with major investments and expenses devoted to data centers are likely to be both enticed by the advantages, and driven by the need to keep up with the competition, toward improvements in their ongoing deployment of computers.

More later ...

Photo Credit: The Planet