Intel's power-saving Linux push highlights big market opportunity

John Shinal · September 20, 2007 · Short URL:

Intel's latest effort to help data center operators cut power consumption is a reminder of just how much energy servers consume -- and how big an opportunity there is in the market intersection where info tech meets green tech. Working with open source developers, the world's largest chipmaker has rolled out a Web site,, that provides tips for reducing power consumption by Intel-based Linux servers. This comes on top of years of research by Intel and rivals such as AMD to produce chips that have more processing power yet consume less energy. Still, data centers are hogging up an ever larger share of the U.S. power grid -- and corporate IT budgets -- as record-keeping requirements and an explosion in Internet video traffic force companies to add server capacity. "Data center power costs are one of the biggest headaches for CIOs right now," says Rob Chaplinksy, a partner with the private investment firm Bridgescale Partners. Power consumption is a double whammy because the hotter a server room gets, the more energy it takes to cool it. Researchers at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., estimate that corporate customers now spend more to power and cool their servers than they do to buy and service the machines. The good news is that the power problem is creating market opportunities for startups whose chips, blade servers, virtualization software or other technology can help solve it. One example is Varari Systems, whose blade servers use a unique vertical cooling system that the company says reduces power consumption by as much as 35% compared to older machines. 

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