Energy-Saving Servers: There’s More Work To Do

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Energy Star for servers won’t be a simple matter, because users will have to take account of the load on their servers and the amount of work they want to do, says Dell’s David Lear

Dell itself has reduced its data centres, said Lear: “We have had over $50 million in energy savings. We didn’t have to expand data centres – we consolidated them.” And the company likes to demonstrate that to the customers.

But, we asked, are overall server numbers ever going to go down?
“Our aim is to help our customers meet their goals and mission, and there is better and better technology out there” said Lear. “Every time someone buys an iPhone, it will increase the need for a network.”

And servers will increase, as IT greens the rest of the organisation, he said: “In the medical area, a lot is done manually. There are tons of paper floating around all over. The number of servers in that area will go up, as part of the transformation of health centres, but the overall environmental footprint will go down by moving to a more digital world.”

“It’s like an incredibly efficient bullet train, that can operate more efficiently than 100,000 Priuses.”

Where are the savings: desktops or servers?

Where are the most power savings to be made, we asked: desktops or servers?

“There’s more energy in clients, because of the sheer volume of clients out there,” he said. “With all the accessibility, all the children buying netbooks, at the consumer level the energy loading from the client is greater than for the enterprise.”

Energy savings in the two areas complement each other, he said: “We’ve always been a player in the client space, and we’ve designed energy savings across product lines. Now we are looking at the full ecosystem.” Desktop management lets servers wake in the middle of the night for updates, he added.

He also has a lot of time for the thin client model: “But the flexible computing won’t fit everyone. Some customers want a very mobile workforce, and we offer a choice point.”

Overall, Lear’s star is in the ascendant at Dell: “I’ve been working on Green IT for years, and I’ve been called a tree hugger. Actually, I say to my colleagues, I’m a customer hugger”

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