Our take-outs from the latest #KNGS Green Application Hosting workshop from Jan Wiersma

Last Tuesday (May 8th) I attended a workshop around Green Application Hosting organized by the Knowledge Network Green Software (otherwise known as #KNGS).

The #KNGS shares knowledge and creates awareness of the potential of green software, thus creating a demand-driven market. The organization was founded by TNO, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam GreenIT, SIG along with the Dutch Government and AgentschapNL. Offering a great opportunity for EvoSwitch to further its contribution to a green, climate-neutral environment, we’re delighted to be involved.

The workshop on Tuesday featured the following three perspectives:

1. The supplier perspective: What incentives currently exist for datacenters to reduce the energy footprint of their customers’ software applications?

2. The measurement perspective: How can energy consumption in the datacenter be reliably attributed to individual software applications?

3. The billing perspective: What billing models enable application owners to benefit financially from energy-optimization?

I had the honor of facilitating the session on measurement. The major focus of the discussion was around influencing behavior through two methods: transparency in power consumption and supplying the right incentive for energy efficiency.

With regards to the first issue, transparency can be achieved with the supply of (near) real-time energy consumption information (kWh) to IT infrastructure and application developers. This is something that can be done at IT level using onboard measurements such as IPMI. With the poor quality that is sometimes found in IT hardware sensors, better energy measurements can be derived for the datacenter facility infrastructure.

This ties in to the fact that integration and convergence between the IT and datacenter facility is key for the next level of energy efficiency development. This issue – termed ‘converged infrastructure intelligence’– is on Datacenter Pulse’s list of 10 priority issues to be solved by the datacenter industry in the next few years.

During the session I also touched on the fact that pay-per-use models in cloud computing will drive the need for efficient programming, mainly because it will save the cloud computing user money. In my opinion, the ‘lost art of efficient programming’ from the mainframe days needs to return.

The event concluded with a fantastic open debate that touched on a number of subjects encompassing: the need for virtualization; the need to strip a server’s operating system down to bare minimum; the future of hardware with initiatives like the OpenCompute program and benchmarks like SPEC power; and the future of software with various programming frameworks and new (cloud related) languages.

Many other challenges were addressed in this fast-paced debate, making clear that there is still a lot of efficiency to be gained in the IT environment – especially with regards to the coherence of all layers within the datacenter stack.

So what conclusions came out of the workshop? Personally, I’d say my main take-out was that you can’t underestimate the importance of measurement. What’s measured and controlled, can in turn be addressed and tuned. There’s still a lot to do, but measuring where we are at the moment is a very good place to start.

If you have any questions about any of the issues discussed at the workshop, or if you’d simply like to hear more about #KNGS and EvoSwitch’s green committment, you can get in touch with me via marketing@evoswitch.com .

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