Today in Cleantech

One of the nicest things about getting a new computer is starting fresh, a computer uncluttered with accumulated files and a roomy hard drive or SSD. The computer is just that much faster. Well two researchers from Johns Hopkins have released a paper calling for a traditional green approach—reduce , reuse, recycle, recover and dispose—be applied to digital waste. It’s no secret that at the server level, legacy applications and massive amounts of data, can slow down processing and deplete physical storage. There’s a tremendous focus on the hardware side of energy efficient servers, but the other side of the coin is developing a software platform and IT maintenance protocols that will reduce the server workload. It could make a real contribution to the reduction of energy costs.

Today in Cloud

Robin Wauters reports that Pure Storage has closed a Series C investment round worth $28 Million. This follows Fusion IO’s IPO and a $40 Million Series C for Violin Memory, both of which were reported last week. The company’s solution is still in private beta, but they describe their proposition as “a new class of enterprise storage that has been designed from the ground up to take full advantage of flash memory.” It’s difficult to assess how this compares to the competition until more information emerges, but it’s yet another example of the enthusiasm that investors are showing to the emerging solid state storage market.

Teaching High-Tech Gear New Green Tech Tricks

AQT Solar and Planar Energy are retrofitting old semiconductor fabrication equipment to turn out thin-film solar cells and solid-state batteries. If the cost and time-to-market advantages are close to what they claim, could such a practice become a trend?

Today in Cleantech

In solid-state storage, SLC (single-level cell) is generally reserved for high performance, long-lived enterprise drives. MLC (multi-level cell) is its cheaper, consumer-grade cousin — good for netbooks and mobile devices but not something you’d want to use in a server. Now comes Anobit, a startup from Israel, to shake things up with claims that it has achieved SLC-like reliability with MLC chips. We won’t know for sure until its SSD is put through its paces, but if it lives up to the hype, it could usher in a new class of cheap (relatively speaking) and energy-saving storage arrays for data centers.

Today in Cleantech

An interesting week for green data storage. University of Tokyo researchers have given us a tantalizing peek at our crazy-fast computing future with a new NAND flash writing method that can hit 9.5GBps and lowers energy requirements by 86 percent. Also this week, there have been rumblings that Seagate and Toshiba are prepping SSD-HDD hybrids. If this method of combining the performance and energy-saving benefits of SSD and the capaciousness of hard drives sounds familiar, it should. Samsung worked on similar tech a couple of years ago as a way to help speed up Windows Vista. Let’s hope Seagate and Toshiba can make it a reality for the Windows 7 crowd.

Today in Cleantech

Nimbus wants to reset the expectations of enterprises that think SSD-based networked storage is too spendy for their IT budgets. The firm has just rolled out its very Mercedes-Benz-sounding S-class system, which carries a price tag that’s competitive with disk-based Fibre Channel systems. Factor in some generous energy savings, and the bean counters should be very pleased indeed. Not as pleased as racking up the savings by attending our Green:Net conference tomorrow and applying some bleeding-edge Green IT strategies, mind you…

Today in Cleantech

Here’s more proof that SeaMicro’s onto something. The DoE-backed startup is hoping to lure web companies with efficient servers comprised of several low-cost Atom processors instead of the single- and dual-processor systems that are the mainstay of data center racks. Now comes word that EcoSort from Goethe University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, a system with an Intel Atom 330 processor and four SuperTalent SSDs, cleaned up in the Sort Benchmark‘s latest Joule energy measurement shootout in the Indy categories. In case you’re wondering, Yahoo Inc.’s Hadoop system had a strong showing in the raw performance Daytona (general purpose) categories.

Today in Cleantech

SSD’s mainstream moment? OCZ and Intel are racing toward the consumer-enticing $100 mark. Unsurprisingly, the new solid-state drives they offer may be budget-friendly but capacities fall terribly short.  Sure, snappy performance will impress and a smaller power profile is certainly welcome, but I suspect that most buyers and upgraders need more room to store their growing collections of music, movies and photos, not faster access. So in a store shelf battle between a 40GB SSD or similarly priced 1TB hard drive, it’s clear that SSD makers have a lot of ground to cover before purchasing decisions tilt in their favor.

Better Battery Life Motivates Mobile Chipmakers

By all accounts, mobility is the name of the game in 2010. Smartphone shipments shot skyward last quarter and major handset makers, particularly LG and Samsung, are ramping up production this year. The same bullish sentiment is expanding into tablets in general and Apple’s iPad in particular. But how do electronics makers plan to bring mobile gadgets to market that balance performance, feature-richness and long battery life that consumers expect? What about the environment? Recent stirrings from chipmakers offer some clues.

Today in Cloud

Today brings a couple of theories on what to expect in cloud computing, although I’m not sure either is immediately imminent. The first is a suggestion that AWS will offer solid-state instances within the year. I have no doubt the idea has been considered, and that AWS would be the one to roll out such an offering, but I wonder how SSDs fit into virtualized, multitenant cloud platforms from a technical standpoint. The other suggestion is that we’ll see a true market for excess cloud capacity. At this point, it seems more likely to me that providers will follow the AWS blueprint and sell their excess capacity on their own. Until cloud demand is high enough to make such a brokerage profitable, why pay the middleman?