August 11, 2011

Energy Efficiency in the Era of Virtualized Data Centers

It’s summer, and living in California, we’re surrounded by innovations such as hybrid cars, solar panels, intelligent power strips, and new offices built to LEED certification.  This is the beginning of a newfound understanding of the impact of our technology on the environment and practical ways to lessen that impact. In fact, we’re now more capable of addressing the key issues identified during what some consider the apex of the environmental movement a generation ago.

This understanding applies to data centers as well, now designed from the start to be more efficient, and hopefully drawing on clean energy vs. ‘dirty.’ And given that data centers now consume anywhere from 1% to 3% of the world’s energy, this quickly adds up.  Server suppliers warranty extended temperature operation for natural cooling, while merchant silicon vendors bake into their designs the latest efficiency standards. Buildings themselves are built to the latest efficiency standards, drawing on solar, wind, and even fuel cells where possible.

At Extreme Networks, we’re doing our part, an appreciation of our impact on the planet from product inception, though deployment and operation, and then to retirement. We reflect this in low power designs that minimize the amount of hardware required, efficient and intelligent cooling, and other novel techniques, such as the capability to shut down power to switch ports based on role or time-of-day. For example, powering down a VoIP phone after hours. Our recently announced BlackDiamond X8 switch demonstrates efficiency, with only 5 watts consumed per 10GbE interface, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in electricity in a typical deployment over a three-year period.

Both the BlackDiamond X8 and the successful 8000-Series switch run ‘cool,’ minimizing the network’s impact on other devices in the data center. Take a look at our new paper, ‘Delivering a Greener Data Center’ for more on our technologies and initiatives. We’ve also created a Green portal on our website, with links to industry standards bodies and resources aligned with our vision.

You may have heard this before, but green never goes out of style, and Purple is the new green.  And if you have a suggestion, or something you’d like to share, we’re here for you.

-Dave

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Extreme Marketing Team

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