speckytecky (8th October 2008)
Yes this is a major consideration
Yes we are considering it
No, not looking into this just yet
Green? BAAH!, Our school runs red
For all of those schools going 'green' or giving it consideration here is an article that I found. It that goes into a few myths about power saveing which could be informative or at the least useful ammo against interfearing consultants.
10 power-saving myths debunked | InfoWorld | Analysis | 2008-10-06 | By Logan G. Harbaugh
They do get XPs hibernate and suspend mixed up but other than that the story seems quite good.
Interestingly there were a few bits of research a while back that was done to determine how much power could be saved by cooling the equipment using unfiltered outside air and noticed only a 0.6% increase in failure rate but a huge saveing in power.
Slashdot | Intel Shows Data Centers Can Get By (Mostly) With Little AC
Microsoft took this idea even further and just dumped a whole rack of servers in a tent outside for seven months and had no failures even when they were dripped on by rain.
Slashdot | Microsoft Innovates Tent Data Centers
Perhaps data centers of the future will look more like wind tunnels than darkened caves, blasted with air from the outside world. Not that I would recommend or consider pushing any of my ageing servers 'out into the cold' but the design of the server room could change dramaticly in the next few years.
Last edited by SYNACK; 7th October 2008 at 05:49 PM.
speckytecky (8th October 2008)
Erm, so they debunk the myths by going "because we say so"? Opinion piece != debunking.
There's a data centre somewhere in the US where they have a massive door / shutters along the wall of the data centre and when the outside temperature is lower than internal, they turn off the aircon, open the door and use external cooling. Will try to find the link.
Much of the stuff there is impractical/not appropriate to the scale that we work on. However, it is a) a good thing that these measures get implemented where appropriate, and b) gets us thinking about how we can make sensible, low cost savings.
There would be a much bigger impact if our Works Dept were to insulate the loft above the classrooms, but I have no control over that; I can turn the 30 PCs off next door overnight and at weekends.
Our new suite uses this principle as part of the 'green' spec that had to be built into the build.
When it's a little bit over normal temperature the AC kicks in but if it still gets too hot inside the 6 external vents open, the AC shuts off and fresh air is used (unless there's no air movement outside in which case it falls over and tries to do everything all at once). When it's cold the vents shut and AC turns into heating mode.
It's crap though since the only temperature setting (that we can't control) seems to be set at bloody freezing and the AC is on all the time. We can turn it off but it automatically turns itself back on after a few minutes (I like it cold but this is ridiculous).
Also it's supposed to use the colder outside air at night to cool the rooms so that they're at a lower temperature in the morning but it appears not to work properly.
Sounds great in principle but since it's never worked right from the beginning I think they need to work on the controls before they inflict it upon us. Everybody here moans about it being too cold in the new rooms but too hot in the old rooms.
Our school tries to be green but they sort of give up when they see teachers in rooms with the AC flat out and the heaters on as well - not to mention windows and doors open with AC/heating running.
I particularly love this gem:
I don't think that author understands how ecommerce works. People want to do things there and then, not in 10 minutes once a server has been turned on. Our average HP DL360 G5 takes between 5 and 15 minutes to cold-boot, depending on what OS, and what services that OS is running. No customer would sit at a site waiting that long. Can you imagine someone going to Amazon.com and being presented with a page saying 'please wait'? No, they'd jump over to barnes and noble!Myth No. 2: It takes too long to cold-start servers to react to spikes in demand. If customers are made to wait, they'll go elsewhere.
Fact: Idling servers at zero workload as hot spares is an egregious waste of energy and an administrative burden. If customers need to wait while you spin up cold spares to handle rising workload, brag about it. For a Web site, put up a static page asking users to wait while additional resources are brought online. As for the wait, people will stay on hold if they know their call will be answered. Build power management into your services architecture and make it part of the message that you send to users and customers.
Not sure about some of it... but here we're starting with basics
Shutting down and turning of the power at the wall - applies to all electrical equipment: TVs, Monitors, Whiteboards, PCs, Videos, etc The server is the only thing that's exempt.
We're also turning off lights when rooms aren't in use... we have the children on board; they're very good at 'reminding' their teachers to turn things off!
Turning PCs off whenever they're not in use is, IMHO, impractical as classes can't wait while the PCs install any new applications which I've pushed round at startup. Reducing the amount of power used when they're not required is practical though (point 5 on that myth debunking site) - consider the power management settings on things like hard disks (ours power off after 2 mins) and those oh-so-pretty screen savers (ours monitors power off after 5 mins). Aside the obvious environmental benefits of these changes, they also save our school something like £4/computer/year (your results may vary, of course).
Printers are even worse offenders - our colour lasers draw around 100W when in "energy save" mode, and can peak at in excess of a kilowatt when printing.
Classroom lights are a good one to look at too, as elsiegee40 picked up on. I received the slightly unpleasant end of a lunchtime conversation about energy saving, in which I was criticised for my decision to turn all the computers on automatically each morning, until I pointed out to the teacher in question that the PC idling over lunchtime actually uses less electricity than her classroom lights, which I knew for fact were currently on in her empty room. Don't be tempted to turn corridor lights off, though; our fire safety inspector "told us off" for that.
As Andrew says, a lot of the energy saving advice around isn't appropriate to our scale of enterprise, however there are still things we can do, for both the planet and the electricity bill :-)
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