This week has seen an unusual share of coverage about IT energy issues - from a lot of different angles. However, whether or not "green" was stuck to the heading, everyone seems to agree that energy is a serious operational cost issue, and the bottom line for any energy-related initiative is always cost.
Grids & Power Management: Howard Marks of InformationWeek writes of his observation that in storage, MAID (Massive Arrays of Inactive Disks) regularly shuts down idle drives. And in grid arrays he's now seeing RAIN (Redundant Arrays of Independent Nodes) with a similar model -- essentially shutting down servers when not in use.
IT Energy Survey: Erin Bell of eChannelLine referenced a recent survey done by Cassatt regarding the degree of energy waste in data centers, and operators' willingness to look at power management as one option to curb it.
Automation = Efficiency: Gail Dutton in Virtual Strategy Magazine writes of the myth and realities of running a true "lights-out" data center, how automation plays a supporting role, and how various levels of efficiencies can be recovered by doing so... if management is willing to cede control.
Automation & Utility Computing: John Rath in the Data Center Links blog posted some humorous/insightful comments about the current reality of Utility Computing: "Myth? I don't think so. I think it is the early stages, but definitely not a myth.. I don't think utility computing, cloud computing, grid computing -- what ever you want to call it is a myth. Far from it. The applications of these technologies will be seen in different places, for different reasons and at different paces over the coming years." I couldn't agree with you more, John.
Curbing the Electric Consumption of Avatars: My buddy Dave Ohara on the Green Data Center Blog reminds us of Nicholas Carr's observation that the power consumption of a Second Life avatar is about that of a real-life Brazilian. Sort of tongue-in-cheek, but getting at the point that these computing environments numbering 1,000's of servers also need to be power-controlled during off-peak periods.
It's about Efficient Operation, stupid: Arthur Cole of Data Center Central -- bless his heart -- finally implies the observation we've been pointing out for months: it's great to pursue efficient equipment to achieve IT energy efficiency, but to get the rest of the way, you need to pursue Efficient Operation of the equipment, too.