Everyone is taught the cardinal rule of energy efficiency at an early age: Turn off the light when you leave the room. The reasoning behind that is clear -- little things compounded can have a big effect on the power bill.
The same theory is the basis behind new software from Cassatt that reduces energy consumption in the data center. "Enterprises are looking to more-energy-efficient hardware and quick ways to impact costs, reduce their carbon footprint and declare themselves green," says Sergey Nikiforov, technical alliances manager for San Jose, Calif.-based Cassatt. "The only way to do this is to turn the light switch off."
Using rules-based technology regarding power usage patterns based on factors including time of day, demand and power company curtailment, Cassatt's Active Power Management software turns off servers when idle and then turns them back on again when needed. "Results in power reduction can be up to 50 percent," Nikiforov claims, adding that ROI can be achieved in as little as six months.
The solution is garnering attention from industry watchers. "Active Power Management is the first product in an important new category that we think infrastructure and operations managers should pay attention to," wrote Gartner analysts Milind Govekar and Simon Mingay in a recent research note. "The product provides simple, policy-based power management, such as scheduled shutdowns of multiple distributed-system servers and application shutdown and restart."
The technology behind the solution is utility computing, which turns IT resources into a metered service for enterprise use. According to Cassatt, utility computing breaks down a bank's silos by decoupling software applications from their hardware, creating a bank of computing power.
Technology consulting firm Bearing Point (McLean, Va.) has partnered with Cassatt to encourage adoption of energy-efficient solutions for the data center. The two companies have opened a customer center in New York City that will allow financial services companies to model and test utility computing technologies and environments.
While acknowledging the advantages of Cassatt's Active Power Management solution, Gartner does cite some product limitations, including a lack of configuration management information and less-than-seamless interoperability with the servers' enabling software.