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Microsoft, Google Battle Over Energy Efficiency

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the anything-you-can-light-i-can-light-cheaper dept.

Power 164

1sockchuck writes "Microsoft and Google have opened a new front in their battle for global domination: data center energy efficiency. Just weeks after Google published data on the extreme efficiency of its previously secret data centers, Microsoft says it has achieved similar results with shipping containers (despite Google's patent) packed with up to 2,500 servers. The geeky benchmark for the battle is Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), a green data-center metric advanced by The Green Grid. Microsoft says its containers tested at a PUE of 1.22, while Google reported an average PUE of 1.21 for its data centers, which apparently are also now using containers."

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Containers (4, Interesting)

psergiu (67614) | about 6 years ago | (#25451033)

If they care so much about being "green", are they using recycled containers ?

Re:Containers (5, Insightful)

jlar (584848) | about 6 years ago | (#25451045)

Most businesses care about being green when it means spending less of the green ones.

Re:Containers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451247)

Exactly. This is why eric Schmidt has decided to endorse Obama - to become CTO in an Obama administration and ensure net neutrality, saving Google many gigabucks. It's the same sort of story with Ballmer, who is desperate for McCain to win.

Re:Containers (3, Funny)

ionix5891 (1228718) | about 6 years ago | (#25451417)

it takes a container full of servers to run Vista?

Re:Containers (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 6 years ago | (#25451773)

That's why I'd wish we'd tax the Hell out of the most non-green businesses... gotta make it worth their while somehow.

Re:Containers (3, Funny)

Emb3rz (1210286) | about 6 years ago | (#25451811)

Joe the plumber can't afford to be green! Most small business owners making under $250,000 can't afford to be green! Won't somebody please think of the small business owners?!

Re:Containers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25452083)

That's the silliest thing I've heard in a long time. Good thing it's being modded 'funny.'

There's no fixed cost to "going green." There's no definition that says "going green costs X, ergo you need to make X to go green."

Sir, I knew John Maynard Keynes. John Maynard Keynes was a friend of mine. You sir, are no John Maynard Keynes.

You sir, have the economic intelligence of a bullfrog.

Re:Containers (5, Funny)

Emb3rz (1210286) | about 6 years ago | (#25452139)

You sir, have the economic intelligence of a bullfrog.

Excellent! Bullfrogs are green!

Re:Containers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451953)

Most businesses don't mind spending green ones if they can write it off against their tax bill.

Re:Containers (1)

Manuel M (1308979) | about 6 years ago | (#25451103)

Surely those are used containers. They must be cheaper than new ones, right?

Re:Containers (1)

RuBLed (995686) | about 6 years ago | (#25451145)

If you are talking about steel containers (the ones at the dock). I'm pretty sure they are recycable and could have been recycled so many times before.

Re:Containers (1)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25451215)

But would a company want a building full of grubby, dinged, rusty containers? Which they'd have to modify anyway (add access panels for utilities, replace the doors with something more sensible for indoor use).

Re:Containers (1)

RuBLed (995686) | about 6 years ago | (#25451243)

My bad, my brain interprets that as "re-use", I was under the assumption that recycling was the process of melting existing steel to new forms.

Well yes, no sensible company would want a rusting data center.

Re:Containers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451379)

if a company manage to get rusty steel, I do not have anithing selled by that company

Re:Containers (1)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25451421)

Have you ever seen an oceangoing ship? They all turn into USS Rustbucket after a few years.

Re:Containers (1)

Columcille (88542) | about 6 years ago | (#25452415)

Do the ships from Scandinavia also turn into USS Rustbucket?

Housing. (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 years ago | (#25451385)

Slap a bit of paint on them; good as new!

A couple of months ago there was a story about a university using shipping containers for student housing [abc.net.au] .

Re:Housing. (1)

Sobrique (543255) | about 6 years ago | (#25451601)

Compared to most of the student digs I've seen, that's definitely a step up

Re:Housing. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25452127)

wouldn't that be an improvement on current student housing.

Re:Housing. (1)

afidel (530433) | about 6 years ago | (#25452307)

A shipping container is significantly larger than your average double dorm room so I don't think that's a problem. I would worry about environmental controls, but stacking a layer two deep of containers filled with earth around them should get rid of most of that problem =)

MOD PARENT DOWN (then vote Kodos!) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451177)

Bored of Slashdot trolls telling you to vote Obama or McCain? Let's vote Kodos, for real hope and change! Lot's of people say, "Don't blame me. I voted for Kodos!" well this time, let's elect him and find out what he's made of.

Only Kodos has a solution to Iraq: all humans will be forced into slavery to build giant ray gun, no time for in-fighting.

Only Kodos has a plan to reduce unemployment to zero: all humans will be forced into slavery to build giant ray gun.

Only Kodos will deal with the world's over-population problems: all humans will be forced into slavery to build giant ray gun, so will have no time for breeding.

Only Kodos has a viable plan for the economy: economy will be shut down as all humans will be forced into slavery to build giant ray gun.

Only Kodos can do that Bob Dole impression everybody loves. We've seen the sort of mess Kang can create in this country, let's vote: Kodos for Change!

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (then vote Kodos!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25452325)

I see a reference to Kang, so I assume this is Kodos the executioner. What is the ray gun you are talking about. Kodos was best known for killing a large portion of the population of his colony to save the remainder from starvation only to have the resupply ships show up a day later, thus being tried and convicted instead of applauded for a brave decision. Is there another Kodos that involves a ray gun?

Power usage effectiveness isn't the whole story (5, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 6 years ago | (#25451039)

OK so if you have a PUE of 1.2 then five-sixths of the input energy is used to power the computer equipment. But that doesn't say how energy efficient the machines themselves are. You could be running 150W Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processors, or whatever, and still get a higher 'efficiency' than someone using Atom processors giving the same computational speed with lower power usage.

In the old days I would have suggested that Microsoft was limited to x86 processors and so they would necessarily have higher power usage than Google, who would be free to use more power-efficient architectures like ARM or PowerPC. But I get the feeling this isn't true nowadays. In servers and high-end desktops, do Intel x86 chips now offer the best bang per watt?

Re:Power usage effectiveness isn't the whole story (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | about 6 years ago | (#25451301)

In the old days I would have suggested that Microsoft was limited to x86 processors

Who says Microsoft is using Windows on their servers?

Re:Power usage effectiveness isn't the whole story (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#25451591)

In the "Old Days", NT 4.0 had build targets for X86, Alpha, Sparc, and MIPS.

Only recently did they can the other 3 architectures.

Re:Power usage effectiveness isn't the whole story (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 6 years ago | (#25452497)

Deliberately obtuse ? The original poster expressly spelled out niche architectures for power saving. Not potential mainstream competitors to x86.

Re:Power usage effectiveness isn't the whole story (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 6 years ago | (#25451447)

No. x86 doesn't offer the best bang per watt. Not on the hight end (IBM, ATI and NVIDIA have some nice offerings here, depending on your needs), or the low end (ARM, MIPS), or anywhere between those.

Re:Power usage effectiveness isn't the whole story (1)

afidel (530433) | about 6 years ago | (#25452363)

For general computing tasks x64 definitely offers the best MIPS/Watt/$. IBM has some interesting chips with the POWER line, but they don't sell enough volume or design for cheap enough fabrication to get good MIPS/$.

Re:Power usage effectiveness isn't the whole story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451685)

suggested that Microsoft ... would necessarily have higher power usage

They had lower power usage, but then they installed Vista on the computers, so needed to add a couple extra Gig of RAM.

then they installed some .NET web apps, so had to add another couple gig of RAM and a faster CPU.

then they virtualised everything so had to add more RAM, a bigger HDD array and a CPU with more cores. :-)

Perhaps efficiency will mean old-style programming will make a comeback and the new 'ram is cheap' paradigms will pass?

Re:Power usage effectiveness isn't the whole story (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 years ago | (#25452511)

"[...]more power-efficient architectures like ARM or PowerPC[...]"

Actually, the main different in "architecture" power-efficiency is the decoding unit. Decoding units haven't really increased in size over the years and they take up less and less relative power/die as more cache/logic gets added. It's more of an issue of goals. Those Sun cpu's where 8 alu's share a single fpu are great at low power usuage because they don't waste as much die implmenting an fpu for each core. I

f intel/amd released something simular, they could reduce power usuage/leakage, but then they couldn't re-release the same chips for consumer grade hardware. Who would want to buy an 8/12 core system with 1 fpu? Different goals.

Idle data centers? (4, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | about 6 years ago | (#25451105)

Given Live! search popularity, it is easy to be ahead of Google in this regard. They could as well turn the whole thing off and become rich.

Why? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25451107)

Microsoft, which is currently putting the finishing touches on a huge new data center near Chicago. The bottom floor of the $550 million facility will house at least 150 data center containers packed with servers.

So they put servers in containers, then put the containers in a warehouse? What good does the container do at that point? You're just compartmentalizing the warehouse, with really unwieldy compartments (I'll bet you can't move the containers once installed, so you're stuck with the form factor chosen at installation). Why not install modular walls instead (if it's the compartmentalization that yields the extra efficiency)?

Re:Why? (3, Funny)

weirdo557 (959623) | about 6 years ago | (#25451149)

why stop at modular walls? what if they were to install the servers inside tubes, perhaps a series of them. a series of tubes that carries data... i'm off to the patent office!

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451749)

I would imagine that this is basically the rackmount / blade concept on a bigger scale. Shipping containers are designed for efficient stacking and moving, and the warehouse presumably contains a dockside crane or equivalent to do so. Adding more containers is easy, and it's very unlikely a whole container would ever fail at once to the extent that it would require removal - just open the door and send in the techs to swap out the failed components.

Re:Why? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25451945)

But that still leaves the question: what's the point of having something that can be moved efficiently if you're never going to move it? You're just introducing another constraint (X racks of servers have to fit within an Y-foot container) plus the expense of fitting stuff inside the container without reaping any benefit that I can see.

Fat people... (5, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | about 6 years ago | (#25451123)

This is like two fat people drinking diet coke with their supersized double cheeseburger meal.

Re:Fat people... (1)

symes (835608) | about 6 years ago | (#25451429)

This is like two fat people drinking diet coke with their supersized double cheeseburger meal.

indeed! But it is really the guys making the burgers who ought to be audited. I can't see Google/MS having that much of a footprint - the guys that manufacture their servers, drive their containers around the world, etc., I bet, are far more environmentally costly. It would look good if Google/MS's contractors competed not only on price but also PUE. Then I think we'd see some serious savings.

Re:Fat people... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451891)

It's because they have a hormonal imbalance, genetic predisposition, and big bones. How they eat has nothing to do with how fat they are. If eating a super sized meal made people fat, then everyone who regularly eats at fast food places would be fat.

PUE is a rubbish metric for this (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 6 years ago | (#25451163)

PUE is a rubbish metric for this. The definition is nothing more than "power at utility meter" / "power used directly by IT kit". There's no account of WHAT that power is doing. Is it running one PC or a thousand? Is it hitting Gigaflops or nanoflops? You could put a laptop without a battery into a datacentre and get a PUE better than someone who has a thousand rackmounts all running at full speed. All PUE measures is the efficiency of the power conversion gear and associated equipment (e.g. UPS, etc.). In fact, UPS is an interesting measure too because the PUE of kit with a UPS would be greatly hindered in PUE stakes even against otherwise identical equipment.

Now, "Total Teraflops / Power at utility meter" - that's a more accurate metric to be comparing. And I'd guess that there Google's containers would wipe the floor with MS's (unless, of course, some trickery is being done in the TFlops measurement - you would have to carefully define what's needed). And even then, throwing a bucket load of low-power ARM processors running Linux into every square inch possible would probably thrash even Google in those stakes (unless they already do that?).

If you're going to have a contest over a metric, at least understand the metric and its shortcomings before you start claiming that X is better than Y.

Teraflops (1)

krischik (781389) | about 6 years ago | (#25451393)

Total Teraflops - that's a floating-point measurement. Not much floating point done in a database search - apart from the google rating and calculating the search speed pre haps.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (1)

Isao (153092) | about 6 years ago | (#25451523)

Good suggestion. I'd go a step further and figure out a way to incorporate transactions performed (outright, not per second). So if you've got quad cores in an idle loop, and the other gal has a 1.0+ load average per CPU, she wins. I guess this could be gamed by running SETI@Home, but at least it would still be performing work.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25451549)

The true energy savings happen at the source. We need to find ways to increase coal-to-electricity efficiency conversion to 90% or higher.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (1)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25451623)

At 50%, we're already getting pretty near the theoretical limit for combustion processes, iirc. I suspect you're better off finding ways not to use coal (or other fossil fuels) at all.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (1)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25451873)

What other kind of fuel is there? (And don't say hydrogen, which is an energy sink, not a source.)

Solar has not proven to be practical. I could cover my whole roof with sun-reactive diodes, and it still won't produce enough power to run my electric heat pump during winter. Wind has the same flaw.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (1)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25452053)

Wind, solar and hydro (including tidal) may not be complete replacements, but they are part of the solution. So is nuclear (fission and fusion). All benefit from more research, more so than the dead end that is our current fossil fuels.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 6 years ago | (#25451701)

What about /useful/ work? If you're running N millions of instructions per second on one watt, but all but one instruction in that is Operating System Overhead.... Microsoft vs Google would report it if they knew how to measure it.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (1)

jabithew (1340853) | about 6 years ago | (#25452031)

If you're going to have a contest over a metric, at least understand the metric and its shortcomings before you start claiming that X is better than Y.

Hear hear! It's the same with all metrics, especially environmental ones. The carbon metrics are the worst. Should we talk total carbon emitted? After all, that's what causes the problems. But the figure usually becomes meaningless. Carbon per person? Do we have an 'allowance'? Carbon per GDP? Many say it is a fix to make America look better, but if you flip it around, if we have to emit carbon anywhere more is done per unit emitted in America than anywhere else.

In short, be aware of the relevance of metrics, and how useless this one is.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25452087)

For Supercomputing, there is the Green500 which shows the top supercomputers ranked by FLOPS/Watt.

http://www.green500.org

While "FLOPS/Watt" is not the best metric, it is a metric that gives an *idea* of how efficient the supercomputers are. The June 2008 list is the most recent with a new list due to be released in November.

-J

Full Disclaimer: I help with the Green500.

Re:PUE is a rubbish metric for this (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 6 years ago | (#25452365)

I've read the article as well, PUE is about as idiotic a metric as you can have, the ratio of energy used by computer equipment versus the energy used at the facility for all other uses. The only thing that really counts is the total amount of energy used to process a given number of calculations and data requests.

You can have a really great PUE just by using the most energy inefficient computers you can get. It just seems like the googlites and M$, are just chasing each other up their own wazoos in the pursuit of empty marketing hype, in pursuit of that cool factor, that their renown for privacy invasiveness is poisoning. Silly marketing like this will only further taint the image they are so busy trying to 'fabricate'.

It sounds like an interesting battle (1)

Centurix (249778) | about 6 years ago | (#25451171)

Would be more interesting if it were a fight to the death.

Even if an employee died, they could claim that it was one less person breathing out carbon dioxide. Win-win.

Telling Microsoft that Google are battling? (3, Insightful)

Ragzouken (943900) | about 6 years ago | (#25451175)

Is there some unwritten rule that you can't use 'and' in a headline?

Yep (2, Interesting)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 6 years ago | (#25451507)

It is a written rule of journalists, they economize the amount of letters in a headline. It makes sense with printed press, but at the web they should follow some different gidelines.

Re:Yep (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451857)

Microsoft, Google Battle Over Energy Efficiency
Microsoft and Google Energy Efficiency Battle

Now it's even shorter!

Re:Yep (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451977)

I dunno about that, I definitely prefer the titles in Firefox's Live Bookmark to be kept short. With the comma, I see "Google, Microsoft battling over energy effi...", while with the "and" I suppose I would see "Google and Microsoft battling over energy...".

Short headlines == good. (provided they are still understandable, and I can assure the GP that using commas instead of "and" has been commonplace for decades)

Re:Yep (1, Interesting)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 6 years ago | (#25452207)

A headline at /. starting with "Google" and "Microsoft" won't tell you much. One starting with "Energy efficiency" would be informative even when chopped. When you design headlines to be chopped, their size are much less important, that is what I was refering when I said that on the web there are different rules.

Re:Yep (1, Offtopic)

IRGlover (1096317) | about 6 years ago | (#25451993)

Well, if it is a written rule it is either not in the British Book of Journalistic Style, or UK newspapers just ignore the rule (maybe they're not into the whole brevity thing!).

I certainly used to find it odd when reading US news sources (by which I just mean the Onion, all other news outlets have too much bias - and I mean ALL, not just the US ones).

Re:Telling Microsoft that Google are battling? (1, Offtopic)

Yacoby (1295064) | about 6 years ago | (#25451527)

Using an and would mean that it would be more likely run over the end of my rss feed display, which would be annoying, therefore I am all for the lack of ands.

Re:Telling Microsoft that Google are battling? (0, Offtopic)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 6 years ago | (#25451619)

adding the word 'and' completely removes the dramatic pause needed... because it's a BATTLE.

Re:Telling Microsoft that Google are battling? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451875)

The headline was set up to include Yahoo! but it was omitted you insensitive clod!

Geography (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about 6 years ago | (#25451185)

Since it is mostly irrelevant where a data center physically is, and cooling via electrical power is going to result in a comparable draw to generating the computing cycles in a warm climate, I suspect the greenest thing Google/Microsoft could do would be to site their data centers in the coldest northern climates feasible (rather than, say, California). It makes generated waste heat potentially useful as well, rather than just pumping it straight back out into the atmosphere.
  (Thinking about it, Iceland would be ideal for a big datacenter. Cold climate and lots of cheap renewable energy via geothermal.)

Re:Geography (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#25451233)

Since it is mostly irrelevant where a data center physically is

Actually I think latency is a major issue for both Microsoft and Google as they chase the market for online applications.

Re:Geography (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451333)

And, of course, Microsoft and Google could probably buy up Iceland for use as a large datapark, the way their economy is at the moment!

Re:Geography (2, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25451467)

Since it is mostly irrelevant where a data center physically is,

well, "near a high-capacity internet link" is a pretty big issue for datacenters, and AFAIK the main reason datacenters are still being built in stupid places.

What a joke... (1)

n3tcat (664243) | about 6 years ago | (#25451191)

I recently had a back-and-forth over on the Windows 7 development blog regarding Microsoft's comments on encouraging their users to put their computers in standby mode rather than shutting down the entire computer. Apparently the startup time from standby is worth the extra power saved over hibernating. Some other people on the blog said that computers use "only" 1 watt now in standby. I said sure, that's great. Now multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of computers in homes around america. If only a fraction of those computers were in standby mode at any moment rather than hibernation, they would be using tens of thousands of watts of energy that would otherwise be responsibly saved. So I've a hard time imagining that MS is really pushing for any sort of true "green" balance.

Re:What a joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451257)

On the other hand, waking up from hibernation takes a lot longer, so if you add
up all the time waiting for those hundred of thousand of computers to come back, over the
span of a year, a lot of lifetimes are wasted waiting.

Re:What a joke... (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 6 years ago | (#25451283)

Externalities. If 10% of the people who are waiting for their computer to boot up go and put the kettle on and make a coffee, suddenly you aren't saving so much energy any more. Yes, I made that number up, but this is generally what happens.

Re:What a joke... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 6 years ago | (#25451347)

We are talking about Windows here.

They probably turn a TV on as well while they wait.

Re:What a joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451291)

MS aren't pushing the green credentials because they leave it to the hardware people such as AMD, Intel and companies such as Cranberry; http://www.cranberrynet.com/green.htm/ [cranberrynet.com]

The Cranberry SC20 device only uses 9 watts of power compared to 175 watts on a PC. This has been achieved by squeezing the most out of the hardware - while the environment it's in does matter, it seems to me the most gains are down to getting the most out of the hardware.

Re:What a joke... (4, Informative)

mpsheppa (1088477) | about 6 years ago | (#25451317)

The power usage during standby is only about 1-2 watts on a decent PC these days. The power usage during hibernation is also about 1-2 watts and the power usage while OFF is about 1-2 watts as well. So unless you are actually prepared to turn your PC off at the wall then they are right, standby mode is generally the best way of saving power because the speed to resume from standby means that you can put the PC into standyby mode much more often than you would turn it off and the PC can put itself into standyby mode automatically.

Re:What a joke... (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 6 years ago | (#25451653)

My computer has this new green invention called a "switch". It's on the back of the computer, (so you can't hit it accidentally) and you can reduce your computer's power usage to zero while it's not in use, just by toggling the "switch".

What is considered "off" for computers is often what is termed "standby mode" by the green-conscious when referring to any other appliance.

as a recent immigrant, I notice many wall sockets here in the U.K. have a switch right on them, rather than needing to unplug a device to stop it from drawing power. I assume that most natives here do not own furniture, since otherwise these switches would be completely useless to everybody.

Everything that has a switch on the device, I really don't mind reaching over and flipping off. I haven't used my PS2 in months, so the red light on it stays off.

Re:What a joke... (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25451835)

as a recent immigrant, I notice many wall sockets here in the U.K. have a switch right on them, rather than needing to unplug a device to stop it from drawing power.

You're on 220-240 volts now, babe, it's got a lot more bite than the USA's 110 domestic power. You turn the power OFF when you're not using the outlet.

Re:What a joke... (2, Informative)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25451877)

True, but switches on the outlet are pretty much UK-only, as are plugs that include a fuse. Other 230 V-countries don't use them.

Re:What a joke... (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25452059)

100% of the 240-volt countries I'm familiar with have switched outlets. Yes, it's a sample size of two, but if Australia and Great Britain do it the rest must be merely statistical error.

Re:What a joke... (1)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#25452103)

meh, Australia's just a British colony anyway...

Re:What a joke... (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 years ago | (#25452281)

Hong Kong has the same: fuses in the plugs, and many outlets with an extra switch. Again UK influence of course.

Netherlands, Germany, France and anywhere else I have been (two dozen countries at least in total) don't have this arrangement. UK and some of it's former colonies are the exception.

Power usage in hibernation should be zero (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25451803)

Or have they redefined "hibernation"? Hibernation used to mean "you save all the system state to disk, and cut power". You should be able to use the big toggle switch on the back and drop AC completely.

You shouldn't need to keep a "trickle" going unless you want to use something like "wake on lan".

you have to include the PSU too (2, Informative)

jcupitt65 (68879) | about 6 years ago | (#25451949)

The PC electronics only burns 1-2 watts in standby, but the large and idle power supply will burn another 8 or so.

Or at least that's the way my imac is. I got a watt meter and it's 70w at full power, 40w in low-power mode, 10w in standby and 10w when off. It only goes to zero when you unplug it.

My laptop is the same: the charger burns 7w even when you don't plug it in to the laptop.

Re:What a joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451357)

I'd love to use standby, if only standby didn't stop the computer from being useful. My computer has things to do 24/7 - they might only use ~1% of the cpu, but they require continuous operation.

Re:What a joke... (1)

Xest (935314) | about 6 years ago | (#25451375)

I think you missed the point. From your very own comment it sounds like what they were saying is that if you have your PC turned off for 16hrs of the day using 1 watt and being able to turn it on and be productive instantly is better than sitting waiting for a couple of minutes using 100s of watts for the system to boot up from full power off before you can be productive. It sounds like what they were saying is effectively that a few minutes of time where you can't do anything at 100 watts is worse than hours of time where you can't do anything at 1 watt.

I'm not arguing the case either way as I don't have any numbers to judgeby but it sounds like a possibility.

Re:What a joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451593)

wake-up from hibernate is about 60 seconds (30-90).

at 300 watts, that's 5 hours at one watt (assuming 30 seconds to wake from suspend, 90 to wake from hibernate).

At that math it takes 3-4 times resuming in a day for it to be better to suspend, and really, overnight (greater than 5 hours) hibernate should win. Throughout the day suspend (or really a safe-suspend type operation that has the HD to fall back on if power goes out).

Re:What a joke... (2, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 6 years ago | (#25451595)

A "typical" PC, of which there are none, will likely pull 125-200W at startup. It runs full out, afaik, until power management kicks in. For my laptop, it takes nearly 5 minutes* from power switch to useful (as judged by both disc activity and inability to accept keystrokes in realtime). So 1/12 hr x 125W = 10 watt-hours. That's ten hours in standby if standby is 1W over hibernation/off.

It has a huge benefit to usability, though. Being able to "turn on" the machine and have a working browser over a wireless link in less than 10 seconds is quite a feature. It's the difference between flipping on the machine to check the weather (standby) and knowing that you can probably wait for "weather on the 8s" on the weather channel faster (cold boot).

* Yes, that sucks royally. Thanks, Microsoft, et al., for your inability to load programs efficiently. About 4 minutes of that time is _after_ I login. In comparison, I can come out of hibernation (i.e. - transfer 2GB from the disc back to memory) in about 30 seconds.

Re:What a joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25452215)

or use an eeepc. 30secs load from off.
standby actually takes longer.

Re:What a joke... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 6 years ago | (#25451631)

"Now multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of computers in homes around america."

Well, call me insane, but I don't think that some 500kw (how big is the US population?) are a big amount of power for an entire country.

PUE? (1)

s74ng3r (963541) | about 6 years ago | (#25451201)

Here's to help you what a PUE [thegreengrid.org] is.

Cognitive dissonance. Interesting resolution (-1, Troll)

jonaskoelker (922170) | about 6 years ago | (#25451323)

Microsoft says it has achieved similar results with shipping containers (despite Google's patent)

Hate microsoft. Hate patents. Head asplode.

It's going to be interesting to see what the comments are on this bit... :)

Just move the Data Center in Quebec (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451325)

Just send your Data-Center to the province of Quebec (Canada). We have Hydro electricity aplenty. Heck, if you go North enough, you won't even need an AC in the server room.

SWaP (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451341)

I like Sun's SWaP metric [sun.com] because its value is based on a business operation that you can define.

And as the article mentions, datacentres in a shipping container are like, sooo 2006 [sun.com] .

Re:SWaP (2, Insightful)

An dochasac (591582) | about 6 years ago | (#25451641)

Mod parent up. Sun has been using SWaP for several years now. If Space Wattage and Performance aren't a good starting point for IT efficiency measurement, what is? An air-cooled ENIAC in Iceland might have a good PUE but no one in their right mind would think this would make for an efficient modern data center.

"despite Google's patent" (2, Informative)

tombeard (126886) | about 6 years ago | (#25451469)

You do know that a patent doesn't prevent you from building and using a patented device? You just can't sell them. In fact, making the information available was the reason for patents.

Re:"despite Google's patent" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451539)

Not quite -
  The exclusive right granted to a patentee in most countries is the right to prevent or exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the invention.

pue?! (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 years ago | (#25451529)

some metric devised by an international nonprofit which microsoft happens to be a
director level member and google does not.
disney and enterprise rent-a-car are also members??

what ever happened to kilowatt hours?

One word. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451559)

"Microsoft and Google have opened a new front in their battle for global domination: data center energy efficiency".

We should just have one. Big. Googlesoft.

Re:One word. (0, Offtopic)

tylerni7 (944579) | about 6 years ago | (#25451705)

I think I just threw up a little.

"Green Grid" has no Green Organizations as Members (2, Insightful)

giafly (926567) | about 6 years ago | (#25451731)

It seems to be a grouping of power-hogs who want to claim to be environmentally friendly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it won't do some good, but until it get a few organizations like GreenPeace as members, and asks them to audit its standards, then nobody should take it too seriously.
The Green Grid: Members List [thegreengrid.org]

Go straight to the source. (1)

Jacques Chester (151652) | about 6 years ago | (#25451761)

The website linked to basically regurgitates material from a Google website about their data centres [google.com] and a blog entry [wordpress.com] by a Microsoft data centre employee.

The original links are more informative than the rehash.

MS still behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451865)

MS are getting a PUE of 1.22 in their new container datacentre. Google are getting an average of 1.21 across all their datacentres, and 1.13 at their best datacentre, which it is speculated may use containers. So MS have the dubious achievement of their best datacentre being slightly less efficient than Google's overall average. Whoop!

Google halloween spoiler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25451905)

Somewhat related to the article; Today I looked at the google frontpage, I saw a link under the search box to some energy-efficiency stuff, I thought I'd check the hippie stuff out, but the link took me to www.google.com/hauntedhouse08/

I refreshed the frontpage, and mysteriously the link had disappeared.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Tagged "pueispants"? (1)

6Yankee (597075) | about 6 years ago | (#25451947)

Will whoever pue'd 'is pants kindly go and change? Thanks.

great idea (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 6 years ago | (#25452009)

Actually I think containers are a great idea as you can attach some solar panels on the roof and sides to maximize the solar consumption. I don't know if I have enough computers for it, but definitely I could see containers being used more and more for mobility as well in disaster situations, I know I want one!

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