"Rolling blackouts and rising rates aren't the only power
problems confronting Intel and other Silicon Valley
microprocessor-makers. Longer term, they also face a very different
kind of electrical challenge: curbing their products' thirst for
juice. Instead of focusing only on how many MIPS -- millions of
instructions per second -- a chip design can deliver, chip
manufacturers will have to give new weight to a variable that
encompasses power as well as performance, the MIPS/watt ratio -- a
metric that until now has been of interest mainly to designers of
the special-purpose chips known as "embedded" processors."
"Ryno Technology, a Benicia systems-integration company that
specializes in helping large organizations switch from conventional
PCs to simpler, cheaper "thin clients," recently put out a press
release focused on the energy savings such terminals offer. ...
Along with the terminal, the energy crunch could give a new
lease on life to the mainframe. IBM, for example, is touting its
new Z900 mainframe, successor to the venerable S/390, as an energy
"To back up its claims, IBM steered me to David Boyes of Sine
Nomine Associates, a networking systems consultancy in Ashburn, Va.
Boyes recently helped a major East Coast telecommunications company
install a new S/390, which can host up to 41,400 separate "virtual
servers" running Linux. Before settling on the mainframe, Boyes and
his customer considered using big Sun Microsystems servers instead,
but they figured they would have needed about 750 of them, filling
more than eight times as much expensive data-center space, to get
equivalent computing power."
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