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Microsoft slings sack of green at US universities

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Microsoft has handed over half a million dollars to four US universities doing research into green computing.

The software giant, which has recently been building power-chugging data centres across the globe to beef up its web-based onslaught, said yesterday that it hoped the research would help develop techniques to lower power consumption in software and hardware products.

The firm said it has given $500,000 to the Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tennessee.

That lucky bunch of academics will be encouraged to deploy “novel thinking” on ways to reduce power consumption and to make technology more environmentally friendly in the future, said Microsoft senior external research director Sailesh Chutani.

Topics to be tackled include virtualisation, power consumption analysis and low power microachitectures.

It’s a move that also represents Microsoft’s latest attempt to recast the multinational company as a friend of the environment. Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer was rolled out at CeBIT in March this year to punt Redmond’s newfound love for all things green-coloured.

At the event Big Steve claimed: "We are on a path to build some of the most power-efficient data centres in the world, 40 per cent more efficient than a few years ago, and we think our Hyper-V virtualisation technology could take data centre power consumption down by another five times."

However, Microsoft’s to-the-rescue energy-saving hypervisor, which will be built into Windows Server 2008, hasn’t landed yet. The firm missed its original release date by a significant margin, but that didn’t stop Microsoft giving party pooper Hyper-V an “official launch” at its Heroes Happen Here event earlier this year.

The company’s technical server and tools advisor Mark Gilbert told The Register yesterday that the team was “quite close to the guidance we’ve be giving on Hyper-V.” In other words, Microsoft reckons it remains pretty much on target with its chalked-in August release date.

He said that the firm has been grappling with a number of “challenges and bugs” with the technology, which will directly compete with market leader VMWare’s offering. “But we’re feeling quite good about it,” he added. ®

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