Data Centers

Microsoft touts green initiatives in data center strategy

At CeBIT, Microsoft shined a light on its data center strategies that can bring advantages of energy efficiency and cost savings to companies. Steve Ballmer was seen quoting several statistics on the energy consumption pattern of the IT industry.

At CeBIT, Microsoft shined a light on its data center strategies that can bring advantages of energy efficiency and cost savings to companies. Steve Ballmer was seen quoting several statistics on the energy consumption pattern of the IT industry.

An excerpt from ComputerWorld:

"If you look at nontravel power consumption in the world today ... information technology is one of the most rapidly growing power consumers on the planet," Ballmer said. "We think we have a real responsibility ... to reduce power consumption by the IT industry."

A couple important points to note are the green credentials of Vista (3 watts per hour compared to 100 watts per hour of Windows XP) and the investments in data centers to support hosted services and software and service offerings in the future.

While many would argue whether adopting Vista makes sense on its green footprint alone, there are certain signs that the Redmond giant is following on Google's steps in declaring its green initiatives. The search giant had declared significant investment in renewable energy companies and also boasts a sprawling network of data centers (a must for 24x forever uptime and global user base).

Now, Microsoft did stress on the renewable energy aspect and its Quincy, Washington data center is coming up near a hydroelectric plant. However, real commitment to power efficiency will also hopefully include investment in firms exploring alternative technology solutions.

The investments apart, as an enterprise using Microsoft's products, how do you perceive these green announcements?

6 comments
agilebrainz
agilebrainz

We've been running our entire server room on GTS solar power for years. Makes me laugh every time there's a power outage cause we basically NEVER go down. Now that's greener computing! And you get to sleep through the night, more too.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Every Vista PC I've ever seen takes at least 2 to 3 times the time to boot than the XP machines they replaced. The problem is so bad, that many of my clients refuse to shut down their PCs when they are done with them because they hate the several minutes they must wait when they boot them up again. This statement is even more ludicrous in the light that most ?Vista Ready? PCs have to be twice as powerful as their XP predecessors, and need high-powered graphics cards as the default configuration, even if all it?s ever going to do is e-mail and word processing. In fact, the biggest complaint about Vista laptops is the abysmal battery life! If there is any enemy of ?green computing?, it?s code bloat where with each new version of Windows, millions of extra clock cycles are required to get the same work done. If Microsoft was in the auto industry, their ?green? autos would be getting 10 MPG less than last year?s models. If anything, this is just another example of how the idea of ?green? has become just another mindless marketing term with no footing in reality.

greenadvocate
greenadvocate

I disagree. Startup times may be twice as long (in my own experience this is not the case, but your mileage may vary). However, it's the advanced power management features offered by Vista that are more useful to users. While both XP and Vista can be aggressively set to Stand By within minutes of idle, the way Vista handles it has been changed in two ways. First, it minimizes the number of exceptions and conflicts that occur due to problems with software interrupting Stand By attempts, so it Stands By almost all the time. Secondly, Microsoft claims Vista returns from Stand By in 3-5 seconds. My actual experience is about 10-15 seconds -- but I'm not baaahing like a sheep because I have to wait 15 seconds to compute. You couldn't do this with XP! (Btw, returning from Hibernate is also significantly faster.) So, when configured aggressively, users are much more likely to accept the power management features in Vista than XP. Moreover, Vista will actually power down the majority of the time. XP simply doesn't. However, I do agree that users have to be retrained not to "Shut Down" completely. This is not necessary every day, and could be an action one takes only on a Friday evening, for example.

eddie_suiter
eddie_suiter

I agree it seems that this is yet another example of using the "greening" to be a marketing ploy. I run a government data center, and Vista is not a server level OS. We need to some how have a number of options; virtualization is one and more efficiently designed servers, that use less power. Show me this and I' say that Vista is greening!

networkmadman
networkmadman

Have to disagree with you Sir.. Vista, when configured correctly, manages power much more efficiently than XP on any day. The low power state would be perfect for your employees to boot back into Vista much quicker than a full shut down. Not utilizing these features, and /or not taking the time to configure your vista environment will only make the sheep cry louder. Tailor your vista to the user, don't just give them a stock machine and hope all is well. There is a lot of of unnecessary options in Vista(stock From the manufacture) that yes, dose require a bulker system to run apps.(AeroGlass Crap), This option doesn't help people get there work done any faster. Tear down the fancy grafix and retain the usability though the performance options on the system menue. Also the power management of the new systems can run much more efficient at a lower/same voltage. I will admit that Vista is an OS that belongs on new hardware. Trying to use the OS on hardware that was originally designed for XP/Vista Compatible just doesn't cut it.. Even if you upgrade your hardware you will still run into compatibility issues. My only real beef with Vista is its lack of stability with USB devises. Not support, Stability... Cant really bag on Bill Gates too bad though or else i wouldn't have a career.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Considering that most Vista PCs are not/will not be deployed in corporate environments, it?s unlikely that many will be configured as you suggest. Today, most people using Vista are those who ended up with it by default because that?s what was pre-installed when they picked up their latest PC at the big-box store. Needless to say, most of these consumers do not have the expertise or benefit of professional IT support to de-gunkify Vista to get it running at the level of performance that you suggest, and never will. Most of these PCs will chug along 24/7 because people will not want to shut them down. And speaking of ?green?: How ?green? is it that almost every iteration of upgrade from Microsoft demands that I throw out most of my older but still perfectly functional hardware and replace it with new just because I can?t get drivers? As for the server environment, I really don?t know what Ballmer is talking about. Vista isn?t a server OS, and isn?t likely to serve as a basis for one in the future. In fact, it looks like Microsoft?s next server OS is going to be more like what I?ve been talking about for decades; a lean ?less is more? approach, where only the minimum required modules for pre-defined tasks will be running with far less code overhead for every operation.

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