Intel Sees Big Hope For ICT’s Carbon Contribution

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Only ten percent of computers have their power managed. It’s time we did better, Intel’s eco-tech manager told us, from the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen

“It acts as a catalyst to accelerate market transformation, and we have set very aggressive targets,” she said. “The power supply manufacturers, from technology development perspective, absolutely deserve credit for that (the reduction of 16 million tons of emissions so far).”

But 16 million tons is a long way from the Initiative’s aim of removing 54 million tons of CO2 emissions by ICT equipment by 2010.

“We are not giving up and we are staying on that goal, but we are not sure we will hit it,” admitted Wigle. “It is also worth noting that so far we have not quantified the power management initiative. We know we can reduce power consumption by 40 percent, simply by getting people to employ power management systems, and we will continue to work hard on this until end of next year to achieve that 54 million ton goal.”

Getting power management into use

“Currently only 10 percent of computers are using power management, because many organisations have been reluctant to use because they do software upgrades during out of hours and so have not included power management in their builds,” Wigle said.

“Intel has worked hard on its vPro technology, which offers these companies a robust way for them to reach into a PC, which is either switched on or off, and wake it up to in order to do network upgrades,” she said. “It can turn a company from not employing any power management technology to embracing it.”

“Every generation we take onboard very aggressive goals to reduce energy consumption, the best example of which is our server processor series, the Intel Xeon 5500,” she said. “This is a product that goes into high volume servers, i.e. the workhorses of a typical data centre. Typically the two processor server will do 9 times the work (performance) and consumes 18 percent less energy than a one processor server. When this is combined with virtualisation technology, you could replace nine servers with just one server.”

Wigle is not concerned about the impact that virtualisation may have on shipments of new server systems. After all, one of the biggest attractions around virtualisation is its ability for server consolidation.

“We have looked at virtualisation consolidation, but discovered that customers are actually more worried about less reliable machines, because the virtualised servers even more critical, so we are very enthusiastic about the virtualisation capability,” she said.

Wigle also spoke about Intel’s Open Energy Initiative, and about how Intel products could be deployed into smart grids and smart buildings. “We really do believe with smart grids and smart buildings, there is a chance of a set of standard specifications, and we are starting to see a lot of work on that around the world,” she said. “The good news is that often existing IT standards can be applied it here.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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