Computing’s energy problem

We’ve known for a time that internet companies are increasingly worried about their power consumption and now, thanks to a conference organised by Sun Microsystems, it’s out in the open. Here’s a report

With rising energy costs and server computers that now suck up more electricity than ever, power bills have become such a significant expense that they are forcing chief financial officers to take notice, said Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems Inc.

According to Papadopoulos, Google “has stated that power is (one of their) top operating expenses for the company”.

The Sun executive estimates Google already spends $100 million to $200 million on its energy bill each year and that number is likely to grow as it continues to add more computers to the Googleplex.

What nobody seems to be looking at yet, though, is the huge energy overhead implicit in conventional PC-based networking architecture. That overhead effectively represents a tax that is paid by every networked organisation — which is why we at the Ndiyo Project are very interested in the subject. It’s another reason for thinking seriously about thin-client networking.