With the increased adaption of Cloud Computing in both consumer and
enterprise segments, the datacenter needs are increasing drastically. This, in
turn, is driving up the electricity consumed by datacenters dramatically. The
datacenters in the US alone consumed 61 Billion kWh of electricity in 2006. This
is roughly 1.5% of all the electricity consumption in the US during the year
2006 and double that of 2000.
According to IDC Worldwide Energy Expense Forecast that came out in Dec.
2008, organizations are spending 29.6 billion dollars to power and cool their
servers and this number is expected to go up to 40 Billion dollars by 2012. In
the year 2009, US government is going to release Energy Star guidelines for
datacenters, much like the ones available for consumer electronics. This
increased awareness has a potential to drive a Green revolution in the
Sensing a huge opportunity, AMD is positioning itself to capture the market
with the launch of new energy-efficient quad-core server processors called
Shanghai HE Processors. The 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron HE processors, rated at
55-watt ACP, are designed to help meet the industry’s rising demand for low
power, cost-saving data center technology and increased virtualization
performance. They are already available with 8 server systems from HP and they
are expected to be available from other server vendors like Dell, Sun, etc..
These processors are supposed to consume 20% less power than the competing
There is a clear trend towards increasing the density of components in the
servers and datacenters, thereby, reducing their power consumption. The release
of this processor helps achieve this more easily. With the latest trends towards
container based datacenters, the need for low power, high performance processors
like AMD’s Shanghai HE processors only increases further and further.
Having said that, I want to point out that it is possible to reduce the
datacenter power consumption by 70% if the currently available state of art
technology is used. In fact, even a modest reduction of 10% of total energy use
would amount to energy savings of 10.7 billion kilowatt-hours per year — an
amount equivalent to the electricity consumed by one million US households and
valued at about $740 million.
What is actually needed is a mindset to accelerate the use of power saving
technologies from the side of the datacenter players and a set of consistent
guidelines from the side of the government. I hope the Energy Star label on the
datacenter will help accelerate the efforts to make them more and more green. I
would like to hear from the experts in this field about the nuances of the issue
and how we can reduce the datacenter power consumption drastically to change the