Microsoft steps up its green datacenter campaign

Microsoft steps up its green datacenter campaign

Summary: Green computing is a hot topic these days. And "Big Green" (a k a Microsoft) wants to make sure its next-gen Windows Server products are among the greenest of them all.


Green computing is a hot topic these days. And "Big Green" (a k a Microsoft) wants to make sure its next-gen Windows Server products are among the greenest of them all.

As a result of power-management tweaks it has made to its software, Microsoft is expecting Windows Server 2008 systems to use about 20 percent less power than existing Windows Server systems. Windows Server General Manager Bill Laing mentioned Windows Server 2008's power-saving capabilities in a recent interview I did with him for Redmond Developer News:

"We've done power management by default in Longhorn Server. And we think average machines will see maybe 20 percent reduction in power use. You kind of slow the clock down when it's not busy. And it's dynamic enough that you can literally slow the clock down across a disk I/O. If you've got nothing to do while you're doing a disk I/O, it actually drops the power use for that short period of time. It's not like sleeping [for] the laptop; this is really short, what they call P-state for processor state."

And during the next couple of months, it sounds like a few Softies will be focused on carving out an official "Green Datacenter Strategy" for Microsoft. Microsoft blogger Lewis Curtis mentioned that he is part of a team scheduled to provide an internal presentation on Microsoft's datacenter-energy-consumption plans in July. Curtis blogged at the end of May:

"This presentation will focused on having a energy consumption strategy in the datacenter, what the industry is doing, what customers expect from us and ideas for Microsoft for the future."

Any thoughts to share with Microsoft regarding green datacenter strategies and products?

Topics: Data Centers, Microsoft, Servers, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Looks like a step in the right direction..

    i wish their software wasnt such a resource hog.. then i wouldnt need huge servers to perform single tasks.. maybe i could go with a smaller server which would consume less energy.

    To their credit.. based on the core article.. they maybe doing just as much!
    • Right, like the NAS provider that switched from Windows to Linux and went

      from 256 meg down do 64 meg, and a 20 percent reduction in price. I am sure it used a lot less energy too, considering they needed a lot less memory.
  • Here's a thought

    How about all data center operators can build their data centers anywhere in the US, but they ought to buy some land in the desert and put solar panels. The power generated by solar panels ought to be equal to power consumed at the data center.

    Generating more power than consuming, is always welcome.
  • headless servers

    Strip out anything not used in the task at hand. Web servers and Database servers don't need a GUI, so build then without graphics cards and run a headless windows server, sort of like a UNIX without X ;-) Back to the future!
    • GUI doesnt take cpu cycles if it is not used

      If you know a little about memory management you'd realize that GUI doesnt take cpu cycles if it is not used.

      One can write applications that dont use GUI. Services are good examples.

      However having GUI present in the OS, would let any programs use it if required.
      • ???

        There is a graphics processor running on any PC with a GUI. On a headless server, you don't need (much of a) graphics processor. This can save energy.
      • but why have one at all?

        Build a simple cli and you don't need to wast the memory consumed by the Gui as well, leave the choice up to the customer!
  • The VILLAGE IDIOTS trying to tell us how to save power in the data center??

    Don't they know how STUPID they sound??? I mean really, slowing the CPU during a disk read??? They never heard of multi-threading processors that have another thread ready to go when another is waiting??? Think more about turning off complete CPU cores when the demand goes down. These comments just make them look STUPID, like they have no idea what a data center is.
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