Like 2007, 2008 proved an eventful year for the world of green technology. The reasons green tech has had such staying power are pretty clear: energy prices continue to soar, organizations continue to struggle with insufficient power and space in their datacenters, and concern over the state of the environment continues to grow.
With 2008 nearly at an end, let's look back at some of the trends in green tech, ones that will most certainly spill over in 2009.
1. Modular datacenters evolved. This year, we bore witness to a shift in the way some organizations are thinking about building datacenters. Rather than designing a complete, fully powered datacenter facility from the ground up, vendors have started pushing modular add-as-you-grow design. The idea is, why add all that power and cooling to a facility that won't be fully populated with machines for weeks, months, or more?
In some case, these modular datacenters take the form of "datacenters in a box." Vendors such as Sun and Rackable Systems fit storage and hundreds, sometimes thousands of servers into one large shipping container with its own cooling system. Microsoft, using Rackable containers, started building a datacenter outside Chicago with more than 150 containerized datacenters, each holding 1,000 to 2,000 servers.
These modular datacenters don't come in storage containers, though. Microsoft, for example, has touted Model T methods to datacenters: The approach uses a modular design in which standard units of computing, cooling, and electrical equipment are delivered to a facility on the back of a truck and assembled on site. Similarly, IBM -- which also offers a datacenter in a box -- introduced its EMDC (Enterprise Modular Data Center) this year. Each standardized EMDC module starts at a minimum of 5,000 square feet, including racking systems, raised floor, power, and cooling, and each one delivers a density of 100W per square foot. As a company's computing needs increase, the datacenter can be expanded on the fly with the addition of new modules.