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Sun launches Eco Innovation Initiative

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Sun Microsystems has announced a comprehensive suite of programs and solutions to help customers design more energy-efficient, eco-responsible datacenters while saving money.

The Eco Innovation Initiative is an extension of Sun's Eco Responsibility Initiative, which was launched in November 2005. Among the tools announced are three Eco Ready Kits: the Sun Eco Assessment Kit provides a methodical approach to analyzing datacenters' energy efficiency; the Sun Eco Optimization Kit helps customers optimize, consolidate, refresh, and recycle their hardware infrastructure; and the Sun Eco Virtualization Kit offers virtualization solutions that enable better asset utilization and datacenter energy efficiency.

In addition, Sun announced the new Sun Eco Services Suite to help customers improve their datacenter energy utilization, and tune their cooling air distribution and other infrastructure systems that can impact both operational costs and service levels. The Sun Eco Services Suite encompasses four service offerings: the Sun Eco Assessment Service for Datacenter, Basic is specifically designed to maximize power and cooling efficiency in the IT infrastructure running Web-based services; the Sun Eco Assessment Service for Datacenter, Advanced is a comprehensive datacenter service providing a technical evaluation of datacenter energy use, cooling capacity, rack placement, air distribution and other environmental factors; the Sun Eco Cooling Efficiency Service for Datacenter helps recover misused air-conditioning capacity and direct it to the areas where it is needed, improving hardware cooling and increasing redundancy while helping reduce capital and operating costs.

The Sun Eco Optimization Service for Datacenter provides direct assistance with implementation of corrective actions outlined in the Eco Assessment Service.

The greening of the datacenter has been a very top-of-mind topic and we have seen many vendors announcing products focused on raising datacenter energy efficiency. With this announcement, we see Sun ratcheting up its competitive positioning to highlight its holistic service strategy that exceeds the tactical approach of merely releasing point products for specific segments of the larger datacenter energy management and efficiency equation. Sun, along with Hewlett Packard and IBM, has helped drive the discussion of energy efficiency in the datacenter, but for Sun in particular, this announcement shows some of its unique technological capabilities in its processors and systems. The inherent efficiencies of Sun's latest multithreaded multi-core processors can attain system utilization rates of up to 80 per cent (according to Sun), which implies substantial reductions in energy consumed per processing task.

We believe the various service offerings are especially important for organizations with limited IT resources finding themselves up against the same space, power and cooling limitations as other, perhaps larger, organizations. In order to grasp the reality of these limitations, objective assessment is an indispensable tool in helping educate IT professionals as well as top-level management. Once organizations have a clear understanding of their power and thermal envelopes in the data center, then follow-on services such as optimization would become a no-brainer for the data center manager. Although the reduced cost of power should be welcomed, the reclamation of power and cooling capacity is ultimately more important. In an era of blades, and other high-density form factors, this headroom for growth is more important than ever. This is a winning scenario as operations cost can decrease in the present but CAP EX for facilities in the future can be reduced as well.

Overall, we are glad to see continued emphasis by the major systems vendors on the topic of energy efficiency in the data center. As each strives to put its best foot forward, the marketplace is enjoying some unparalleled R&D activity related to energy efficiency and are also being blessed by competitive pressures that are focusing the major players on their customers' very real need to achieve more while spending less.

Copyright © 2007, The Sageza Group

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