Samstag Jul 11, 2009

The role of design in Green IT

Green IT in datacenters has come a long way, because the motivation is clear: Save big money by saving energy.

But what about consumers and green? A cool, nice-to-look-at and fun-to-use design is a must. This is what the Ecorider and a Sunray Ultra-Thin Client have in common, and that's why I was so excited last week to finally set the Ecorider in motion again:

Von IDG Green IT Konferenz

IDG held their "Green IT Channel Partner Conference" in the Skylounge, just 15km west of the Sun office in Heimstetten. So as I was invited to give a talk at that conference, which vehicle would be better suited to carry me there than the little green tricycle which carried me from Dessau to Braunschweig almost two years ago?

The talk was - of course - on the other nice-to-look-at and fun-to-use technology with a Sun Microsystems logo painted on it: The Sunray Ultra Thin Client. Our partner CCF told the audience that in a project for the city of Bad Soden near Frankfurt, those Sunrays save 4000 Euro energy cost each year. In absolute term that may no sound like much, but it helps a lot with user acceptance. The new technology is not a dreaded PC replacement but a green desktop, silent, frugal and good-looking.


Freitag Jan 16, 2009

Seven Grams Revisited

After the "7 gram story" not only did hit Techcrunch, but also my favourite german-language news site, let's revisit my original calculation:
  • In 2005, Prof. Paul A. Strassmann George Mason University, held a presentation “Google - A Model for the Systems Architecture of the Future”, pdf here. Slide 11 says that in those days, 31654 2-socket x86 servers worked in parallel to serve 40 million searches a day.
  • So how much energy does a 2-socket x86 server at Google consume? Google engineer Luiz André Barroso gave an answer in his 2007 paper "Power Provisioning for a Warehouse-sized Computer". They measured 143 Watts.
  • These 143 Watts have to be multiplied with a power factor. In 2007 I used a factor of 2 (the industry standard, meaning: "For every Watt fed into the computer you feed another Watt in Cooling etc.). In 2008 Google reported a PUE factor of 1.21. With this, every server actually draws 173 watts for power and cooling combined.
  • So 31654 servers times 173 watts times 24 hours gives us 131427 KWh energy a day. Divided by 40mln searches, that's 3.3 Wh or 2 grams CO2 per search, using 600 grams of CO2 for every KWh generated with the german energy mix of nuclear, carbon-based and renewable sources
  • In 2005, a dual socket x86 server meant two cores. Today we have eight cores and roughly four times the throughput per watt, bringing us down to 0.8 Wh or 0.5 grams CO2 per search
  • So the difference between the "7 grams" from 2007 and this calculation today is caused by: Quad Core CPUs, lower measured power draw of the servers, PUE of 1.21, carbon factor calculated with energy mix instead of coal only. Net result: A factor of 12
  • And the real number Google disclosed this week is even lower: 0.3Wh or 0.2 grams CO2
  • That is really not much: If you start a search every 30 seconds on a typical Laptop (30 Watts), your client uses more energy triggering than Google executing the search.

  • Montag Jan 12, 2009

    Wrong by a factor of 35

    Sorry Google: In 2007, I guestimated the carbon dioxide emission of one Google search to be roughly 7 grams. That number was never intended to frighten people from doing internet searches, because I always assumed that Google would implement Search as efficient as possible. Just think of the advantage you get when you do search 10% more efficient than your competitors while doing billions of searches.

    After the Sunday Times had published last week that Alex Wissner-Gross estimates the same number Google now officially has answered.
    I was wrong. Very wrong. Wrong by a factor of 35. Wrong even when you take into account that Moore's Law and Google engineers had 20 months to increase efficiency since my first guestimate.

    So now we have it: One Google Search produces as much CO2 as 10 seconds of breathing!

    Update: Could be that the Sunday Times directly took my number (after generating 0.2 grams of CO2 and finding this blog with a Google search) and connected it to other work done by Alex Wissner-Gross. Funny how an innocent number can make big news 20 months later!
    At least I got my 2 seconds of fame on Techcrunch: "This obscure blog post" ... "Rolf Kersten’s Weblog (who?)" Cheers!

    Donnerstag Feb 14, 2008

    Jahreskonferenz Klimaschutz und Ressourceneffizienz im ITK Bereich

    Mein Vortrag auf dieser Konferenz behandelt das Thema Thin Clients, damit mögliche Flexible Office Konzepte in Bezug auf Ressourcenschonung. Download als ODF oder PDF.

    Samstag Okt 27, 2007

    Grüner Surfen - Update

    Wieviel Ressourcenverbrauch verursacht denn nun das Surfen im Internet? Und wie kann dieser Verbrauch erstens transparent gemacht und zweitens reduziert werden? Das war das Thema der Fachtagung „Grüner Surfen“ im Bundesumweltministerium in Berlin.

    Einen umfassenden Bereicht gibt es bei heise Technology Review.
    Oder Interviews zum Anhören beim Deutschlandfunk.
    Meine Präsentation kann hier als PDF heruntergeladen werden.

    Update 08.11.2007: Die EU-Studie "Energy Efficient Servers in Europe - Part I: Energy Consumption and Saving Potentials" kann hier heruntergeladen werden.

    Montag Okt 15, 2007

    Meine Präsentation von der Sustainable IT Konferenz, Berlin - Update

    Am 17. Oktober halte ich anläßlich der "Sustainable IT Konferenz" in der Kalkscheune Berlin eine Präsentation zum Thema "Zur CO2 Bilanz des Internet". Es handelt sich um eine verkürzte und aktualisierte Fassung der EBAY Entwicklerkonferenz Präsentation.

    Präsentation zum Download: ODF (10MByte), PDF (5MByte)


    Update:
  • "Spiegel Online" berichtet über die Konferenz: Wieviel CO2 Avatare ausatmen
  • Mitschnitt der Podiumsdiskussion "Nachhaltigkeitsdefizite im Web 2.0" mit Markus Beckedahl, netzpolitik.org; Jürgen Neumann, berlin.freifunk.net; und mir
  • Montag Sep 17, 2007

    BerlinRider - EcoRider sightseeing in Berlin

    Berlin, early Sunday morning: Blue sky - "Kaiserwetter" - as we say in Germany. What suits a Kaiser, suits the EcoRider even better. Especially since there's no Kaiser any more in Berlin since 1918.
    So we visited most touristic highlights of the city, from Potsdamer Platz to Alex back to Ku'damm. We met modern Rikscha drivers, Marx and Engels (stone version only) and the best Currywurst in Berlin. And planted the Sun & AMD logo on hundreds of (mostly japanese) digital camera SD-Cards...
    BerlinRider
    (Klick on the picture for 20 more pictures)

    Donnerstag Sep 13, 2007

    EcoTour Finale

    After motre than 1500km of cycling through Germany, the EcoRider arrived in Berlin today. We had a joint press conference with STRATO, Europe's biggest webhoster, on energy efficient and carbon neutral datacenters at Sarah Wiener's in the Hamburger Bahnhof. After that, the EcoRider headed to the old power plant of Berlin Moabit, where the energy track of the Urban Sustainability Conference took place. An old steam turbine and power generator from 1926 - what a great stage for the EcoRider!
    EcoRider in Berlin
    (Klick on the picture for 42 more pictures)

    Mittwoch Aug 29, 2007

    The Elm and End of my EcoRider trip

    The last day of my EcoRider trip as part of the Sun EcoTour saw me climbing hills in the Elm, a vast enchanted forest east of Braunschweig. The climbs drew half of the battery, or 600Wh of energy. How much brain energy I needed to constantly recalculate how many hills the battery may be able to serve in the middle of the forest was not recorded.

    Update: Visualize the path of this day in Google Earth (KMZ, 19KByte)

    Dienstag Aug 28, 2007

    EcoRider cycle paths between Schönebeck and Offleben

    An Autobahn, build for the Sun EcoRider:

    Plattenbetonweg, Autobahn-Version

    More on the various types of cycle paths in eastern Germany, see my trip report (in german language, with pictures) here.

    Update: Visualize the path of this day in Google Earth (KMZ, 30KByte)

    Montag Aug 27, 2007

    Cycling the Sun EcoRider from Dessau to Schönebeck


    The full trip report (in german language, with pictures) is here.

    Update: Visualize the path of this day in Google Earth (KMZ, 18KByte)

    Mittwoch Aug 15, 2007

    Als "Green IT"-Gastblogger bei Innovativ-In

    Durch die Sun EcoTour auf uns aufmerksam geworden, hat Elita Wiegand mich eingeladen, eine Reihe von Gastblogs zum Thema "Green IT" auf ihrer Innovativ-In Plattform zu posten. Hier die Links zu meinen fünf Postings:

     

    Montag Jul 30, 2007

    Eco-friendly Webhosting

    Since a dedicated server easily draws 5000 KWh electrical energy for power and cooling, which is (at least for the german energy mix) equivalent to four tons of carbon dioxide emissions, everybody should have a second thought on how much CO2 his or her web presence produces.

    Just like Car Pooling, shared webhosting can save a lot of energy. But if we share a server with somebody else, how can we find out how many nighbours we have to calculate our carbon footprint? The answer: http://www.myipneighbors.com/

    Let's see:

    • www.systemhelden.com seems to live on a decicated server, since it is sharing its IP address with www.systemhelden.de only. But: systemhelden.com is running on a Solaris Container, so we are not using a physical server here.
    • One Shared Domain at Strato (that according to Strato only consumes just 1KWh per year) shares the IP address with 700-800 other domains. Combine that with many IP adresses configured in one server, and you get many thousand domains served from one server alone.
    • Our Sun EcoTour Blog shares the server with 17 other domains. Not bad. We just have to make sure to buy enough CO2 neutral energy to feed the Sun EcoRider and the web page.

    Freitag Jul 13, 2007

    A Blackbox powered by a wind turbine?

    Can you operate a datacenter without producing CO2? STRATO - the biggest webhoster in Germany - claim they can. They plan to buy their 30 Gigawatthours of electricity they need each year from a hybrid plant.

    Sun is showing neat Blackbox pictures like the one on the right.

    A Blackbox is a datacenter in a box - capable of running and cooling hundreds of servers drawing 200 Kilowatts of power. Let's see - a wind turbine producing 200 Kilowatts of electricit is no rocket science these days. Repower already builds monster turbines with a propeller diameter of 126m and 5000 Kilowatts rated power. But wait a minute: We cannot calculate with rated power, because the wind is not blowing with full speed 8760 hours/year. So what is a typical yield factor of a wind turbine?

    End of 2006, wind turbines with 20,6 Gigawatts of rated power were installed in Germany, producing 30.600 GWh of electricity in 2006. That's a yield factor of 17%. Not bad.

    So when adding a really big battery to the picture above, a wind turbine with 200 KW / 17% / (battery effciency 80%) = 1500 Kilowatts of rated power would be sufficient to feed a Blackbox. That's the smallest turbine Repower offers these days.

    This is exactly why the Blackbox is not only clever engineering to cram as many servers as possible in a small footprint, but also an ecologically responsible concept. Do not bring (CO2 emission tainted) electricity to your datacenter, build your datacenter where CO2-free power is available!

    Mittwoch Jul 11, 2007

    EcoRider CO2 balance, revisited

    The last five days, Martin covered the first 300 kilometers of his EcoTour through Germany. The vehicle carried the pedaleur himself, luggage for a week and provided protection from heavy rain showers. Looking at other vehicles meeting these specs, how does the EcoRider compare?

    Enter the competitors:

        
      BMW C1 motorbike
     Smart FourTwo CDI
     Sun EcoRider
     Power Source
     Gasoline Diesel Muscle/Electric power
     Consumption
     2.9 liters/100km
     3.2 liters/100km
     2.2KWh/100km
     CO2 emission
     77g/km 88g/km
     22g/km
     CO2 per person
     77g/km 44g/km 22g/km

     The CO2 emission of the EcoRider was calculated as if all the electric power would have been created by using a Diesel powered generator with an efficiency of 30%.

    So even with homegrown inefficient power generation, using the EcoRider for dry trips with luggage up to 70km is better for the CO2 balance than everything else. And better for your health.

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