Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: email@example.com
"Planned obsolescence" is a term coined decades ago but one I haven't heard much lately. I'm reminded of it by a recent Wall Street Journal article (subscription required).
It's about how the companies that designed and sold power-sucking technology equipment used in today's data centers, now will make money helping IT departments cut back on power use in those very same data centers.
Power use has doubled from 2000 to 2006, the article continues, due to new computer servers that "run hotter." Therefore, the data centers need more power to keep them cool.
Some states have consolidated their data centers and others are considering it, but it's a huge undertaking. In the meantime, states can pay these technology companies to help them reduce electricity use.
IBM has a new "Green Data-Center Services" business that refashions data centers to make them more efficient. The company also sells energy-efficient products. HP bought an engineering company last year that specializes in designing data centers.
Vendors say IT departments don't always have to buy new stuff. For instance, the article says, some data centers might be able to save energy by moving equipment around so hot air released from one server isn't baking the adjacent one.
Dell and EMC's VMware Corp, say "virtualization" also can create savings by saving power. Virtualization is not an easy concept to explain in a sentence. Basically, it allows one computer to run many jobs and use more of its capacity, reducing the power used overall by an organization.
And, finally, the story says, IT departments can take advantage of electric utilities' energy savings rebates. At least one utility gives rebates of $100 or more for each server ditched from a data center.
What? No coupon savings in the Sunday papers' inserts?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.