The previous generation of servers -- those from just a couple of years ago -- were arguably groomed to meet businesses' seemingly insatiable demand to have as much processing power crammed into as small a space as possible. Many organizations neglected to consider the associated costs to power and cool their legions of high-powered machines. Similarly, they overlooked the prospect that their local utility would not be able to provide all the electricity necessary to keep those jam-packed datacenters humming.
Times have changed. Energy prices have shot up. Electricity supply hasn't kept up with datacenter demand. Meanwhile, companies have become increasingly concerned over the state of the environment. These shifts have spawned a new generation of servers: machines that deliver more performance per watt and, perhaps to a lesser degree, are built in a more environmentally responsible manner. Hardware makers are stepping up to meet the challenge, competing to crank out machines that satisfy both the need for speed and a keenness for greenness.
One such company is HP, which released this week a new line of ProLiant G6 servers that, claims the company, deliver twice the performance of the previous generation of ProLiant servers -- while using half the energy. According to Doug Oathout, vice president of green IT for enterprise servers and storage, "By simply replacing servers purchased prior to 2006 with new HP ProLiant G6 servers, customers can slash their energy bills in half."
Twice as double
It's a pretty extraordinary promise, if HP can indeed deliver on it. The company is effectively saying you can double your bang (twice the performance) for half of your buck (50 percent lower energy costs). And HP is certainly not the only vendor touting the green credentials of its server hardware.
Just how are companies such as HP managing the feat of providing more powerful servers that consume less electricity? The right processor, of course, plays a key role in overall server efficiency, and AMD and Intel are working furiously to make CPUs that are high on performance and low on energy consumption.
[ How do low-power processors from AMD and Intel compare in terms of performance per watt? ]