There are plenty of opportunities to cut data center energy consumption, just ask Bill Weihl, Google’s Green Energy Czar. Like Google, the tech industry has been making big strides in boosting efficiency by exploiting those opportunities and re-thinking their approaches to data center cooling and IT hardware. But a new aspect of data center energy use is getting increasing attention lately: software coding.
If the code running on all the servers in a data center was inherently more energy-efficient and governed by its own energy-aware logic, deploying fewer servers emerges as a less costly option in reducing data center energy use. As Facebook’s own experiments with code optimization have proven, lowering CPU overhead not only translates into energy savings, it also reduces the number of servers required to provide the same functionality. But how do developers create code for energy efficiency when the impulse is to build programs that are ever bigger, more powerful and faster?
The answer may lie in new tools from Microsoft Research and Intel. For developers, Microsoft’s Joulemeter and Intel’s Energy Checker SDK open the door to new levels of code optimization.
Programming is a balancing act, explains Jie Liu of the Joulemeter team at Microsoft Research. “Software developers constantly make decisions during software development to optimize for speed, memory size, storage, etc.,” he states. For developers, tools like Joulemeter and Intel’s Energy Checker open the door to new levels of code optimization. Efficiency will no longer just be measured by an application’s toll on the processor or its memory footprint. Soon, coders could take energy consumption into account and even assign a monetary value (as in the case of Intel’s SDK).
As I discuss in my latest GigaOM Pro report (subscription required), these tools and the energy insight they provide could have far-reaching effects. Leaner, greener code not only benefits software makers that are poised to deliver on the demands of an increasingly energy-savvy IT industry, but also data center operators that are sick of paying big energy bills for underused computing hardware.
Learn how developers, software providers and data center operators can benefit (and profit) from the nascent green software trend by reading the full post at GigaOM Pro.
Image courtesy of Patrick Hoesly’s photostream.