Channel Marker

Apr 15 2008   1:17PM GMT

The greening of Sun

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Sun Microsystems says it will help partners build eco-friendly IT solutions.

The company’s Eco Advantage Program offers partners tools to calculate for themselves or for their customers how to deploy the best, most energy efficient information technology.

“Partners can take customer data at the server and app level, profile [that] and develop the best case analysis/scenario. They can provide the carbon emission savings, space savings, cooling savings, ” said Bill Cate, senior director of global channel planning and programs for Palo Alto-based Sun.

The program includes the afore mentioned Eco Assessment Service, which evaluates actual data center energy use, cooling, air flow etc.; training on data center power and cooling needs; and modeling tools to help simulate energy requirements of alternative datacenter setups.

Helping customers save money is one way to go into accounts in a collaborative way, said Dermot Duggan, senior director for Sun’s eco drive.

“You can go into your installed base or new accounts and have a rare opportunity where you will get no pushback. You can say, ‘I can save you this much money’ and back that up with real data tied to the customer’s actual servers and storage.”

Hardly any customer will say no to paying less, right?

Vince Conroy, CTO of FusionStorm, San Francisco-based Sun partner said the program aligns with what his company is doing.

“We’ve developed a data center practice and energy conservation is an important component of that,” Conroy said.

Technologies like server virtualization, thin clients, virtual desktop computing, all play into that message.

And, since FusionStorm does some of its own hosting as well as managed services, cost savings are important to its bottom line as well.

Customers are starting to ask about energy efficient computing, although it’s not yet a groundswell, he said. ” It starts with some of the more forward thinking customers and they may be forward thinking because it makes business sense and they’re business savvy or this is a cause for them. In either case we’re seeing more activity [in energy efficient computing.”

Server virtualization, as has been reported endlessly, is one way to get bigger workloads out of fewer boxes and that will be key here. Asked whether it’s really in Sun’s best interests to sell fewer rather than more boxes and CPUs

As to whether it’s really in Sun’s best interests to sell fewer servers, Cates and Duggan said the trend is clear. Either Sun will sell more efficient technology or someone else will.
For hosting partners, the attraction of saving on cooling and electricity is obvious, but it’s also away for partners to help customers save money and perhaps divert some of those savings to additional services.

And the company’s quick to say it’s taking its own medicine, that its latest servers, built on the UltraSPARC T2 chips use multithreading technology and cram 5X the compute power into half the space and get 2.5 times better performance per megawatt.
The Sun execs said the company, through its own eco efforts, received $1 million in rebates onfrom PG&E over the last 12 months.

The company is hardly alone many hardware vendors have jumped on the green bandwagon: Hewlett Packard and IBM also have eco initiatives going.

 Barbara Darrow can be reached at bdarrow@techtarget.com.

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