5 fun data center facts from the Uptime Institute

It’s a tough economy out there. That’s why some figures from the new Uptime Institute’s 2012 Data Center Industry Survey might surprise those who would expect spending on data center infrastructure to be cut to the bone. Also, cloud is big, duh.

Facebook, eBay win awards for data center efficiency

eBay and Facebook are among the winners of this year’s Green Enterprise IT Awards, which the Uptime Institute doles out for advancements in the world of energy-efficient data centers. eBay won for its Project Mercury data center, while Facebook scored with its Open Compute Project.

Power is a problem. Cloud is the answer

The majority of data center operators are relying on server virtualization, hot and cold aisle containment and power monitoring software to make their operations more energy-efficient, according to data released today by an industry research group. And many data center operators are eying the cloud.

Daily Sprout

Stimulus Sweepstakes: — The stimulus package may revive the fortunes of OptiSolar, Abengoa and other renewable energy companies stalled by the financial crisis, but the clock is ticking. — Fortune’s Green Wombat

Getting Smart with Biofuels: Key policy reforms can accelerate the transition to cellulosic feedstocks for biofuels and give them an important role in curbing climate change, according to a new report from the Sierra Club and Worldwatch Institute. — Press Release

U.S. to Get the Whip: RTEV’s Wheego Electric Cars plans to launch a U.S. dealer network. To start, it wants 50 dealers selling the Whip, a low-speed neighborhood electric vehicle. — AutoblogGreen

Mighty Microbes: Researchers at MIT think bacteria can help build better biofuels, clean up the atmosphere, and make biodegradable plastics and textiles. — MIT News

And the Winners Are: The Uptime Institute has named the corporations that made the cut for this year’s Global Green 100 list, which highlights energy efficiency achievements by major data center operators. Among the honorees: Accenture, Apple, Dell, Google, Halliburton and Mitsubishi Motors. — Press Release

IT Needs an Urge to Conserve

Today’s data centers consume 0.5 percent of the world’s energy but are about as energy efficient as a poorly maintained Hummer is fuel efficient. But getting data centers to run more like a Prius is going to take a lot of work in areas that range from equipment design to the physical layout of the data center. IT shops need to get smarter about managing their equipment to fully utilize servers and storage assets as well.

A recent survey performed by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. for the Uptime Institute lays out a clear picture of what IT managers and CIOs can do to make computing less of a drain on the resources of both companies and the Earth. The survey concludes that the cost of managing a data center is rising to the point where it’s affecting the operations of companies’ core businesses.

The report dismisses the idea that new technology and equipment are needed, saying instead that conservation could be used to double energy efficiency in the next four years and halt the growth of greenhouse gases caused by data centers. It also suggests a few key things to bring costs and energy usage into line. Suggestions include making sure data centers increase the utilization of their servers from an average of 6 percent through the use of virtualization. Improving efficiency by decommissioning older servers is also recommended.

Another way to conserve costs and energy is to assign responsibility for conservation to the CIO and to get executives involved in making decisions about data centers and IT. Finally, the report calls for an industry-wide efficiency metric for data centers, although as we’ve previously argued, getting such a metric in place will be a challenge. Doing these things should both decrease energy use but also increase the bottom line, which makes conservation a green solution indeed.

Here comes Ubuntu Mobile

CluttersmallOne thing that the Asus EEE PC has shown us is that Linux makes a great OS for getting online and using limited resources very nicely.  Dwight Silverman pointed me today to Ubuntu Mobile which looks to make any mobile PC online friendly and ready to hit the road.  Ubuntu Mobile is an open-source project that brings all of the online activities we love to do right to our fingertips.  It’s a touch friendly OS so that is a literal description.  From the Ubuntu Mobile web site:

Ubuntu Mobile is an Ubuntu edition that targets an exciting new class of computers called Mobile Internet Devices.
UbuntuMobile, based on the world’s most popular Linux distribution, and MIDhardware from OEMs and ODMs, are redefining what can be done in mobilecomputing.

Ubuntu Mobile, a fully open source project, gives full Internet,with no compromise. Custom options may include licensed codecs andpopular third-party applications.

  • Full Web 2.0/AJAX fidelity, with custom options of Adobe Flash®, Java, and more
  • Outstanding media playback so you can enjoy videos, music and photos with superior quality and easy navigation
  • A suite of applications that work seamlessly to meet every need of a digital parent, student or anyone who is on-the-go
  • Facebook®, MySpace®, YouTube®, Dailymotion®, 3D games, GPS, maps,in short, the full Web 2.0 experience delivered into your hands as acompact and powerful device that’s easy and fun to use

The product of Canonical collaboration with Intel® and the opensource community, Ubuntu Mobile is the software that makes it allpossible.

Head over to the web site and see how complete this flavor of Ubuntu is for mobile PCs.

Phone companies scamming millions from consumers

Hidden inside this CNN piece about cell phone company surcharges was a nano-expose of T-Mobile’s most recent quarter. Catherine Zeta Jones’ wily charms were not the only reason Germans were able to attract more customers in the last quarter and perform better than everyone else in the mobile phone business. Actually, the real reason why the “wireless company’s revenues were up $1 per customer compared with the previous quarter. That was because T-Mobile, for the first time, counted as revenues two fees it tacks onto customer bills. Without those surcharges, the average revenue per customer would have dropped. The surcharges certainly make T-Mobile more attractive to investors — they added $58 million in revenue during the quarter.” These are not government mandated taxes, but instead these are just a way phone company quietly add a buck-or-two to your bill, and try and recoup normal business expenses such as “property taxes and the cost of posting their rates on the Web.” Companies’ advertised rates don’t include extra fees. For a company like Verizon, this means about $173 million a year. Read the article for the complete lowdown.