Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Carbon Information Management + Cloud Computing = Carbon Computing

Lately it seems where ever I turn someone wants to talk to me about Green Computing, or for those who don't know, the practice of using computing resources efficiently in the attempt to lower your energy usage and or Carbon footprint.

To give you a little background on green technology. In the traditional electronics world, energy efficiency is typically certified by the use of a Energy Star logo, a voluntary labeling program which is designed to promote and recognize energy-efficiency in various technologies mostly focused on hardware. So the question I keep hearing is why doesn't such a thing exist for software? This is a very good question.

The use of the Energy Star program directly resulted in the widespread adoption of sleep mode among consumer electronics. So why are we, in software side of technology less interested in power and energy consumption then our physical electronics counter parts? Could it be because the Energy Star program was never actually enforced and still remains a voluntary program? In fairness, the Energy Starprogram was revised in October 2006 to include stricter efficiency requirements for computer equipment, along with a tiered ranking system for approved products, but did almost nothing to address the software that runs on the hardware. Personally I think it's high time for a green computing program of own targeting software and more specifically hosted software and related infrastructure. As we shift way from the traditional desktop operating environment, the traditional concepts of energy efficiency are starting to become meaningless.

Intel has had a long rumored "Green API" that in theory would allow you to pragmatically control energy levels by turning off cores as well as various other chip based elements. But sadly there seems to little news to report on that front and AMD is too busy trying to stay in business to care.

In recent days a new term has emerged to describe the programmatic ability to monitor, manage and control your carbon footprint referred to as Carbon Information Management. So I had a crazy idea, why not combine both the ability to monitor your energy consumption levels (aka green computing), with the ability to manage your carbon levels combined with the ability to manage your infrastructure, viola, "The Carbon [friendly] Cloud".

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