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US politicos demand cool servers

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US politicians have joined the great call for energy-friendly data centers, as the Senate this week approved a bill that promotes low-power server technology.

Senators unanimously pushed through the legislation that asks the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the energy consumption of data centers. The EPA has been instructed to bone up on items such as low-power chips, power supplies and energy distribution. It will also consider how incentives could be used to promote power-efficient data centers in the government and private sectors.

Power consumption has become a rallying cry for the likes of Intel, AMD, Sun Microsystems, HP, IBM, Dell and EMC. All of these vendors have introduced products or services over the past year to help customers reduce their overall energy load. It's quite a virtuous circle for the hardware crowd, since they helped create the energy problem in the first place and can now make more money fixing it.

US legislators are primarily concerned with how energy costs and energy consumption will affect the country's still thriving technology sector.

AMD this week hosted a data center panel in conjunction with the Department of Energy at its Sunnyvale headquarters. At the event, Andrew Karsner, assistant secretary of energy efficient and renewable energy at the DOE, said he wanted to make sure that large service providers and other companies would not be constrained by the US's energy infrastructure.

"It is a national level issue," he said.

Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Intel, Sun and IBM also showed up to give their positions on the matter.

Over the past couple of years, hotter, more demanding processors fueled much on the energy concern. But the rise of lower-power, multi-core chips from Intel, AMD, Sun and others has lessened the processor problem to a degree.

Still, companies looking to build new data centers or to expand existing centers complain that they can't get enough cheap power.

So now, we find the Feds chipping in.

"It is the sense of Congress that it is in the best interest of the United States for purchasers of computer servers to give high priority to energy efficiency as a factor in determining best value and performance for purchases of computer servers," the Senate bill states.

The House of Representatives already passed the same bill, and El Jefe Bush is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.®

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