Whether we are talking about an extensive server farm that fuels Facebook or a mainframe computer utilized by a bank, data storage efficiency needs to become more prevalent in 2013 America. It’s important for us as a country and industry to capitalize on current technology. Doing so will not only lower energy expenditure, but set a precedent for the rest of the world to follow as Information Technology (IT) pushes forward.
Mainframe computers and server farms are different in the type of information they process and how they process that information. What they have in common, though, is that they are the driving force behind many very powerful and important operations in the United States. Banks, government organizations and large companies are some examples of where these devices are found. They crunch numbers and compute information much quicker than computers with less capability, let alone humans.
In a practical sense, it’s obvious that these computers are important to the way our society functions. They are also a very big deal in the way that they affect the environment if not used in an efficient matter. In this situation, both environmental implications and the associated costs are due to excessive energy use. Computers, specifically on an industry-wide scale, pull energy from all angles. With IT budgets tighter right now and with the world in a severe conservational tailspin, efficiency is vital.
Server farms are one example of energy inefficiency. The rows upon rows of computers heat up to the point that the farm then has to use energy to cool the air within the building. This is a worst-case situation when looked at from an environmental or budget standpoint, as these farms cause energy to work against itself in a double negative. Qualified people are now saying that server farms account for 1.5 percent of global electricity use. This is a staggering number, especially when the use of server farms is showing no sign of slowing down. Many in the tech world suggest bumping up the temperature that the servers function in, as cooling the server rows is the biggest guzzler of energy.
One company that has made some environmental and cost-effective progress is Facebook. The social media giant is building a server farm in Sweden that will take advantage of low average temperature to mitigate some of the costs required to maintain air temperature around the servers. This bold move up toward the Arctic Circle doesn’t only improve the company’s energy cost and environmental impact, but sets a very public example for the rest of the industry. This project is also an example of how strategic public relations can shed a more positive light on an industry.
Increased technology and software development has made mainframes more useful than ever, even though most people thought they would be shuffled out of use before the millennium. There is new software available that makes mainframe operations even more effective than they already have proven to be. With the power of these machines and their ability to multi-task in unbelievable ways, improvement can only mean they get better. With increased functionality, mainframes will become more useful while simultaneously saving money for the organizations that deploy them. At the same time, environmental costs will drop as less energy and physical equipment will be needed for the same storage and processing jobs.
Progression in 2013
With the overwhelming concern surrounding climate change and resource degradation, people are always looking for ways to save money and help our environment. Embracing positive decisions within the tech industry is a good start for the progression of server farms and mainframe storage in American society. Any momentum is positive when it initiates business and world improvement within an industry of this scale.
Grant Davis is a Data Modeler by day and a writer by night. His passion for computers started when he discovered instant messaging in junior high school. When Grant isn’t trying to climb through the computer screen he writes for BMC, a leading mainframe storage provider.