Last year, Facebook opened its first LEED certified Open Compute Data Center in Prineville Oregon. It is also building a second building sometime this year. The links below are for some pretty impressive videos introducing the technology behind the datacenters highlighting the custom built OpenCompute servers, racks, UPS, and the evaporative cooling system that uses the outside air.
This is a pretty neat video showing how one of Google’s datacenter works. I like how they have their own hard drive destruction tools to destroy the data on the hard drives as well as their own machines to crush hard drives into pieces.
The headquarters of Applied Materials in Sunnyvale California has completed its parking lot solar panel system installation. This system provides 2.1 megawatts of energy, which is currently the largest solar power deployment at a corporate facility in the United States. The panels are provided by Sunpower and are equipped with solar cells manufactured using Baccini technology. Baccini is a European company that specializes in manufacturing tools for solar that Applied Materials bought earlier in the year. By having the solar panels above the parking lot, it provides for a great canopy over cars. It is much better to park under solar panels than under trees since solar panels dont leak tree sap all over your car.
As more startups and websites come out everyday, the computer and IT technology carbon footprint is increasing. With Co2Stats, you can monitor and manage your website’s environmental footprint. Co2Stats even purchases renewable energy to offset the carbon footprint. Co2Stats measures the carbon footrpint that is created from your website from “dozens of signals and trusted data from international agencies”, whatever that means. The company was founded by academics from Harvard and Yale, so I am sure they were smart enough to come up with some way of measuring it.
The Y Combinator backed company has also had plenty of press coverage from websites, newspapers and television and has signed up over 2,500 sites in over 25 countries. You can sign up for a basic plan for free which is only good for up to 100 page views per month. Unfortunately that isnt very much. The Basic plan, for $9.95/month is still a decent deal with up to 100,000 page views/month.
Here is the methodology used to explain the process taken from their website:
We distinguish between mobile and desktop/laptop client CPUs rendering a website. For example, an iPhone viewing a website will consume significantly less overall power than a desktop PC.
For PCs, the client-side display is assumed to dominate the impact of the online experience after the page loads.
Within the display, footprint ownership is modeled by the relative screen area of the site.
We measure the geographic locations of all client computers connecting to a website. This signal is crucial, since power sources (and their consequent carbon emission rates) vary dramatically from region to region, even within nations.
In addition to server and client-side contributions, bandwidth plays an important role. For a representative sample of transactions, we measure the overall page size and calculate the corresponding network footprint. Geographical influences are an important factor in this parameter as well.
The geographic locations of a representative set of servers backing the site are measured.
The server-side CPU impact model is based on transaction
Network World released a study showing that servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses 12% less power than those running Windows Server 2008. The tests were run using Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, REd Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1, and SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 SP1. They were tested on 1U Server machines from Dell, IBM, and 2 from HP. Windows Server 2008 drew the least power when the maxium power saving settigs were turned on but RHEL was the most consistent. In the testing, the techniques for the Operating System to reduce the server’s energy draw, the CPU ‘throttle-back’ mechanism, required firmware and driver updates making the test more difficult than normal. The main power draw comes from the CPU’s ability to throttle back the CPU to let the server rest when it is not in use. Reducing the hard disk spinning usage and putting it into a quieter state is another reduction in power use. From looking at the results and benchmarks of the study, it still seems pretty difficult to get servers to be green as it would take quite some tuning, driver and BIOS updates. Most servers play a critical part in operation and being able to perform efficiently while also being energy efficient is quite a challenge. You can read about the full study here.