Feeds

Green irony? Tech vendors don't get it

The new gulags of Siberia

Security for virtualized datacentres

With approval poll ratings near record lows, it was only a matter of time before President George W. Bush's administration chose to hitch its fortunes to "IT-is-the-cause-and-cure-of-climate-change" bandwagon.

In his speech to the United Nations this week, Alexander Karsner, Bush's assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, described data centers as "centers of enormous waste" - but also said that technology can help solve the problem.

The comment comes when the IT industry has earmarked the "green" issue as a useful peg on which to hang its credentials for social responsibility. Google's promise this week to rid the world of coal-generated energy is the latest in a recent spate of green announcements from industry leaders. At OpenWorld earlier this month, Michael Dell praised his company's greenness with a pledge to be carbon neutral by the end of 2008 - although Dell actually came fourth "greenest" in last week's survey of server vendors.

We also have the prospect of wind-powered data centers and the strange idea of Microsoft setting up a giant server farm among the former Soviet gulags in Siberia to protect itself from forecast power outages - although quite how socially responsible a server gulag will be remains to be seen.

Intel is one company that does seem to be taking genuine practical steps towards greener computing. Faced with demand for more computing power with less energy consumption and heat generation in its processors, Intel is at the sharp end. Last month it pledged not to increase but to reduce its number of data centers to eight with a potential cost saving of $750m. Importantly for developers, Intel's engineering manager Bob Steigerwald revealed that Intel was actively looking at ways to improve software to make it more efficient. Intel is also supporting work on the Linux based PowerTOP

The answer to power-hungry data centers might, of course, lie in a different direction. The combination of fast computers based on superconductor technology sitting in satellites and powered by solar energy might seem fanciful. But plans were released last year to put a supercomputer in space, albeit for entirely different reasons, by 2009.

It is not a new idea. IBM considered it in the 1970s and supported the setting up of the ill-fated Satellite Business Systems (SBS) partly with this in mind. Unfortunately, the bandwidth was not sufficient to make it viable.

Ironically the last SBS satellite was decommissioned in July 2007 - around the time IBM started its big green push.®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.