Computers Just Keep Sucking More Power

I’ve been out of touch for a while now, and for past few days, I have been in catch-up mode. Last week, I caught up with Ted Schlein, general partner with the Sand Hill Road VC firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. We discussed, among other things, his various investments, many of which are in the IT security and software industries.

The startup he’s invested in that caught my attention was Seattle-based Verdiem, which has developed technology to better manage the power consumed by personal computers installed in corporations – big and small. (Thanks to some constant needling by the Earth2Tech editorial team, I’ve started paying attention to the whole energy consumption and efficiency aspect of computing.)

Nearly seven years old, Verdiem has raised around $15 million in VC funding, including funds provided by KPCB in 2007. Schlein pointed out that while data centers get a lot of attention, few realize that PCs left running (but often unattended) by office workers make up to nearly 40 percent of companies’ total IT energy costs. Printers, meanwhile, account for 8 percent of cost; data centers, 25 percent. (To get a better idea of the power consumed by today’s PCs, check out this great post on Veridiem’s blog.)

Verdiem is at the forefront of the “green software” companies that are developing ways to better manage power consumption.

I think the power consumption problem — whether it be inside large corporations or data centers — is getting out of control. Earth2Tech reports that the power demands from data centers are increasing at a dangerous rate. PG&E, the California utility, says that the demand for power from data centers in its regions has risen to between 400 and 500 megawatts from between 50 and 75 megawatts just 18 month ago.

“We had tremendous growth in data center capacity in the dot-com boom that never got filled. I can tell you that that capacity is now full to the gills, and they are asking us for more power.” … Mark Bramfitt, PG&E’s principal program manager of customer energy efficiency.

Interested in web infrastructure? Want to learn more about Green Data Centers? Check out our upcoming conference, Structure 08.


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