An interesting article in the Register covers a speech from an HP chap talking about how cheaper processing power leads to more demand–which in turn negates the effect of the more efficient technology.
[Christian Belady, Hewlett-Packard’s “distinguished technologist”] claims the true culprit to data center energy woes is the dropping price of computation itself. More numbers being crunched for the same price has the unfortunate side-effect of application growth outstripping performance.
“People think by heading towards efficiency you are actually going to reduce cost,” Belady told LinuxWorld in SanFrancisco today. “But if the cost goes down, demand goes up. If gas went down to 20 cents a gallon, I guarantee you I would take my house off the power grid and run on gas. I am fully supportive of going green, but I caution people to what the end result is.”
Another fascinating point he makes is that the infrastructure and energy costs of a data centre now exceed the cost of the servers themselves–and are as much as two times the cost.