Tuesday, August 15, 2006

PowerExecutive Aptly Named

According to IBM, electricity costs have doubled since 1994, and it won't be long before the costs of to power a server over its lifetime will costs more than the server itself. IBM gives us three to five years.

Enter PowerExecutive, free software from IBM that monitors and controls the power going into its new line of blade servers. I think this is a neat idea, but I was a little unclear on how exactly the software works. Consider this quote:

"Think of it as a cruise control for the power consumption of servers. Customers will be able to set the maximum power consumption for their servers and then PowerExecutive will manage the power ... so if it's set to 400 watts per server that server will never consume more than 400 watts."

So I set my power consumption to 400 watts. What does that do? Does the processor run slower, the hard drives power down, what? Moreover, why would I do that? Isn't the hardware itself managing this power. This article mentions that the software can monitor temperature in both racks and the data center itself which can prevent disasters e.g if the air conditioning fails, the power to certain servers can be cut. I need to get a copy and try it out, sounds promising.

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