The theme of this issue, “Green Computing,” is especially important and timely: As computing becomes increasingly pervasive, the energy consumption attributable to computing is climbing, despite the clarion call to action to reduce consumption and reverse greenhouse effects. At the same time, the rising cost of energy — due to regulatory measures enforcing a “true cost” of energy coupled with scarcity as finite natural resources are rapidly being diminished — is refocusing IT leaders on efficiency and total cost of ownership, particularly in the context of the world-wide financial crisis.
We are pleased to have Lewis Curtis, Principal Architect on the Microsoft Platform Architecture Team, as our subject matter expert on this topic and co-editor for this issue. In the first article (page 2), Lewis provides a holistic approach to greener architectures, and he also helped us subdivide the topic in five perspectives:
• Physical. The Genome research project, described in “Wireless Sensor Network for Data Center Monitoring” (page 28), uses heat distribution data from a wireless sensor network to optimize data center design and server provisioning in order to avoid overcooling the entire data center.
• Operating Platform. Hardware resources are often allocated based on a worst-case scenario that may happen with a low frequency. As a result, complete farms may be as much as 90 percent underutilized. Read Mark Pohto’s article on SQL Server consolidation (page 35) to learn more about virtualization and other consolidation tactics.
• Sustainable Intelligence. An Energy Usage Profile (EUP) is an essential tool for measuring energy consumption in various domains such as hardware, operating systems, users, and applications, as the Software Architect of the Future explains in the article by Steve Stevanovich and coauthors (page 24).
• Application Development. Solution architects also have an opportunity here, as coauthors Dan Rogers and Ulrich Homann point out in “Application Patterns for Green IT” (page 16). Green computing discussions today tend to focus on the platform, hardware, and data centers. However, application inefficiencies, such as suboptimal algorithms and inefficient usage of shared resources causing contentions, are originators of higher CPU usage and, therefore, energy consumption.
• The Cloud. In their article on virtualization maturity model (page 9), Kevin Francis and Peter Richardson also cover utility computing-based delivery models. Insofar as this these models consolidate organizations, consumption has the potential to be remarkably reduced as the Internet scale data centers in which services are hosted can make efficient use of shared resources (servers, storage, cooling mechanisms, and so forth).
Now and in the future, green computing will be a key challenge for businesses and presents a leadership opportunity for all architects. It is an exciting time to
be an architect. Celebrating the relaunch of the Architect MVP (Most Valuable Professional) program, we interviewed Udi Dahan (Architect MVP for four years
now) in our Architecture Journal Profile (page 22).
We hope you enjoy these thoughtful articles on green computing. We invite you to visit the Microsoft Environmental Sustainability portal at http://www.microsoft.com/environment/, and as always, we welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.