With spiraling energy costs and increased demand for computing power comes a heightened focus on â€śgreeningâ€ť the data center. The topic has attracted even more attention of late after the recent New York Times investigation and multipart series about the impact of the cloud on the environment.
In an effort to enlighten the public on the true cost of constant iPhone use, Facebook-scrolling and Internet-surfing habits â€“ including tallying the environmental toll exacted by the Â data centers run by Yahoo, Google, Apple and other Internet titans â€“ the Times conducted a year-long investigation into the power consumption of data centers.
One of the most striking results of the study, which tapped the data-crunching prowess of McKinsey & Company, found that â€śdata centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off of the grid.â€ť
The Times reported:
Â Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner, interviews and documents show. Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand.
Though the report has received a fair amount of attention (both good and bad), the crux of the articles should not be ignored. Data center managers, enterprises and the people who depend on them should be aware of the dangers of rapidly escalating power consumption.
Broadcom and the Big Picture
Thatâ€™s where Broadcom comes in. Aside from considering the inefficiencies of active vs. idle technologies, we take a holistic view of the data center to determine mechanisms for keeping power consumption low while maintaining maximum efficiency.
Take this finding from the Timesâ€™ study: On average, servers only actually used 6 to 12 percent of their electricity. The remaining power was used to keep the servers idling and ready for activity. From Broadcomâ€™s perspective, servers and computers Â arenâ€™t the only guilty parties for Â abusing power in the data center. The network is also a key contributor to power consumption. A broader view of the data centerâ€™s elements â€“ from storage to networking to compute â€“ is critical for gaining a comprehensive view of the contributing sources in the data center.
Energy Efficient Networking
Broadcom spends a lot of research and development efforts around energy efficient networking technologies that moderate energy usage allow networks to maintain proper proportions. By leaving the low-power state when there is data to be transmitted, savings can be dynamic, switch times in and out of the low-power state are quick and deployment and management is automated.
Â Broadcom has long been a contributing member to the Green Grid and the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, which merged this past summer in an effort to speed implementation of sustainable practices in the IT and communications industries. Most recently, Broadcom extended its Energy Efficient Ethernet portfolio with the launch of BCM54210E, the worldâ€™s smallest footprint, lowest power single Gigabit PHY featuring AutoGrEEEn Plus technology that lowers operating power up to 70 percent. AutoGrEEEn Plus expands energy saving throughout the network by automatically reducing the power consumption of the device when there is no active data transmission.
As organizations look to â€śgreen upâ€ť their data centers, the role of the network in maintaining reasonable power consumption levels remains crucial. Network equipment of all types can benefit from lower power consumption, which reduces energy costs and lowers overall operating costs for IT organizations. Expect Broadcom to be at the forefront of energy-efficiency innovations, with products integrating features deep into the physical layer to more comprehensively and effectively meet demands imposed by mobile and consumer applications.
- Helping the Environment through Energy-Efficient Product Design
- VMworld Preview: How the Cloud is Reshaping Data Centers
- Broadcom at Interop: Energy Efficient Ethernet is Good for the Planet
- Broadcom at Interop: Power Consumption Technology Plays Important Role
- Broadcom’s Energy Efficient Networking Products