Sun and Fujitsu turn their own datacentres into green showrooms

Two industry giants are showcasing technology in their own facilities to demonstrate how energy-efficiency can help companies act green and save green.

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Two industry giants are showcasing technology in their own facilities to demonstrate how energy-efficiency can help companies act green and save green.

Sun Microsystems this week highlighted how server consolidation and other efforts reduce energy costs, while Fujitsu Computer Products of America has plugged in a new hydrogen fuel cell generator to supply some of the power to its offices in Sunnyvale, California.

Server sprawl, rising energy costs and global climate change concerns have made the finance people at many businesses finger their IT departments as the biggest energy waster in the company. Datacentres across the US consumed about 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2006, roughly 1.5% of the total US electricity consumption, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. But those same finance people need to see a favourable return on investment (ROI) before approving a datacentre upgrade.

Already, Hewlett-Packard has consolidated 85 of its datacentres worldwide into six, while IBM will replace 3,900 servers in its datacentres worldwide with 30 mainframe computers.

Sun is touting its Eco Innovation Initiative of building energy-efficient datacentres in Santa Clara, Blackwater in the UK and Bangalore, India.

In Santa Clara Sun reduced its server count to 1,240 from 2,177 and its storage hardware count to 225 from 738, all while achieving a fourfold increase in computing power. The upgrade reduced Sun's electrical use to 500 kilowatts, from 2.2 million megawatts, and earned Sun a $1m (£500,000) rebate from the local electrical utility, Silicon Valley Power.

But even Sun had to convince its finance people to approve the project, said Dave Douglas, vice president of Eco Responsibility at Sun.

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