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But if advances in cooling tech and better monitoring deliver a more efficient datacentre, there's a catch: usage just keeps going up and up. "Even though the performance-per-watt has improved significantly, clients buy more and more of the equipment. They can't get enough of it," Schmidt says (our obsession with storing everything - from work documents to family photos and videos - is only adding to the load).
To keep pace with demand, utilisation of equipment has to be better, Schmidt argues, citing the example of a humble laptop: Task Manager will tell you how much of your system is being utilised - and it's usually just a couple of percent. "But the power is max power. It doesn't make sense," Schmidt says. "So there's a lot of effort on ramping the power with the performance now. If you are using that performance, and you don't need the power, start turning stuff off, or put it in sleep mode."
In terms of datacentres, the aim is to get utilisation up to 50 percent.
And while energy efficiency, monitoring and utilisation remain IBM's prescription for a healthy datacentre, Schmidt will continue looking to improve IT cooling technology. IBM's roots with water cooling go all the way back to 1964, and the company is still sticking with it: "I don't see us deviating from that, but we always look at other technologies, in case we're missing something," he says.