Cover Focus Articles

General Information
June 22, 2007 • Vol.29 Issue 25Page(s) 1 in print issue

Green Computing In The Data Center

Is Your Enterprise Doing Its Part?

The world is making an effort to make everything “greener.” But according to some experts, the data center could pitch in a little more help. In fact, Richard Hodges, principal of GreenIT (, says everything we do depends on and affects the natural environment that supports life on earth. Hodges says, “IT is both a significant (and rapidly growing) contributor to environmental problems and a potential enabler of solutions to environmental problems.”

The Concept Defined

Today, green computing is more than just sticking a nice green plant in the corner. The concept of green computing is all about understanding and management. Hodges explains, “What green computing means is understanding and managing the environmental impacts of your IT systems, including materials and resources used to make equipment, energy and materials used in operating systems, potential health effects on humans from using equipment, and responsibility for the waste products that are created from IT systems.”

Scot Case, customer services and relations manager for the Green Electronics Council’s EPEAT (electronic product environmental assessment tool) Program, says IT managers are gradually recognizing that every single purchase they make has hidden human health and environmental impacts. “With electronic products,” Case notes, “these impacts range from the hazardous materials used to manufacture them to the electricity they consume when they are used. Computers and other office electronics, for example, consume 74 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 7 million households. Since most electricity in this country is generated by highly polluting coal-fired power plants, computers are actually a significant contributor to global warming.”

In addition, Case says some of the hazardous materials used to manufacture computers, such as brominated flame retardants, are being found in growing concentrations in human blood streams and breast milk. The consequences of these discoveries are unknown.

SMEs, Listen Up

Jim Pappas, representing Intel ( as a board member of The Green Grid, says small to midsized enterprises should really care about the green computing concept. Pappas explains, “Energy efficiency in data centers is an issue for companies of all sizes, including small to midsized enterprises. Higher energy costs are here to stay, and SMBs often can make a significant dent in energy bills with even a few small changes to processes and technologies in the data center.” He says The Green Grid’s goal is to help develop meaningful standards, measurements, and technologies to help companies of every size reduce power consumption and achieve data center efficiency.

Case agrees that SMEs should pay attention to the concept of green computing. “As reported in cover stories from The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Time, Newsweek, and even Soap Opera Digest, individuals and businesses are recognizing that everyone has a responsibility and an interest in preventing environmental catastrophe, whether it be global warming or growing piles of hazardous electronic products. Many businesses are also discovering that it makes financial sense,” he says.

Case says green companies are finding it is easier to hire and retain highly skilled workers. He says green companies also tend to outperform other companies. “In fact,” he notes, “many financial analysts are using a company’s environmental responsibility as a proxy for evaluating strong executive leadership. In the short term, green products save money by reducing energy costs. In the long run, they can save a lot more than money.”

According to Case, many people are talking about green computers, but many people focus almost exclusively on energy efficiency as if that is the only environmental impact. Case comments, “EPEAT, the green computer standard unveiled in July 2006, actually includes more than 51 environmental criteria. Energy efficiency is just one of the criteria.” Case adds that EPEAT is an easy-to-use purchasing tool that identifies green computer desktops, laptops, and monitors. He says products must meet 23 mandatory criteria to achieve EPEAT Bronze, the lowest EPEAT tier. “Products that meet additional optional criteria can earn EPEAT Silver or EPEAT Gold status,” he notes.

Case says based on very preliminary estimates and conservative assumptions, EPEAT-registered products during the next five years will save more than 13 million pounds of hazardous waste, 3 million pounds of nonhazardous waste, and nearly 600,000 megawatt-hours of energy.

Hodges says “green computing” is an opportunity for IT professionals to take a leadership role and demonstrate the central role of IT to the enterprise. “First, don’t wait for them to come to you. Get your own house in order with a plan for efficiency and eco-responsibility in IT. Then, show how IT can lead the way in reducing the environmental impacts of the enterprise in every area, including facilities (less, more-efficient building space; lower power bills; less tonnage of waste going to the dump), operations (improved employee productivity and accountability with less travel), and travel costs (fewer airplane trips).” He says, ultimately, greening the products and services the company sells is a goal IT professionals should set for themselves.

by Chris A. MacKinnon

Three Good Reasons To Go Green

Richard Hodges, principal of GreenIT (, says SMEs need to be concerned with “Green Computing” for three reasons:

Money. Any organization can reduce costs by making IT systems more efficient: using less electricity, designing systems for longer useful lives, reducing the amount of equipment purchased (and supported), and reducing the amount of waste produced saves money and has a positive environmental benefit (the GreenIT ER3 Principle: Eliminate, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

Risk. Electricity supplies are less reliable, and prices are rising. Many governments now have strict rules on the management of e-waste and u-waste (universal waste), and data on improperly handled “surplus” devices is a potential security disaster. These are examples of risks that IT managers face that must be managed, even in SMEs.

Social responsibility. The issue of environmental sustainability will be a major and enduring trend for the foreseeable future. Customers of every enterprise will become more and more aware of what their suppliers are doing and not doing. SMEs selling to large global enterprises will rapidly find themselves compelled to meet rising standards for environmental responsibility throughout the supply chain.

New Products

General Information
March 16, 2007 • Vol.29 Issue 11Page(s) 17 in print issue

Dual-Core Platforms For Security & Communications Appliances

American Portwell Offers Compact, Cost-Effective Hardware Choices

American Portwell NAR-7090 & NAR-5620/5622 (7090 shown)

NAR-7090: Starts at about $2,000 NAR-5620/5622: Start at about $1,500

Compact, high-performance platforms for appliance-oriented software vendors

Many companies like to buy communications, network, and security applications as appliances. But few software vendors want to also be in the hardware business, instead turning to system manufacturers such as American Portwell, Advantech (, and Intel ( or to system-level manufacturers and integrators.

American Portwell Technology’s new members of its Communication Appliance product line—the NAR-7090 and NAR-5620/5622—address what the company sees is the need for high-performance hardware in smaller form factors, and they’re capable of using less power.

“Our typical customers are software vendors,” says Frank Shen, American Portwell’s product marketing director. “We can even install software vendors’ software and drop-ship the boxes to their customers, so the software companies don’t need to touch the hardware or the logistics side.”

The NAR-7090 is a 2U appliance built on Intel’s 5000P chipset and has sockets for two dual-core Intel Xeon 64-bit processors, a 1,333MHz frontside bus, and up to 14 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Uses for the NAR-7090, says Shen, include enterprise networking security applications such as Network Access Control, unified threat management appliances, voice/data/image “triple-play” applications, media gateways, and WAN optimization. “The 7090 is a high-end platform, good for applications which need high throughput,” says Shen.

In addition to the NAR-7090, American Portwell announced its NAR-5620 and NAR-5622 communication appliance platforms, intended for use by medium-sized and large businesses.

The NAR-5620/5622 series of 1U appliance platforms uses Intel’s 3100 chipset, which can support Intel’s Core Duo, Pentium M, or Celeron M mobile processors; includes two PCI32 GbE ports; and can be configured with up to six PCI-E SFP connectors or eight PCI-E copper ports. (The 5622 includes an additional Ethernet module.) The NAR-5620/5622 use DDR-2 400 memory, making them appropriate for application buffering and for memory-intensive applications.

Samples of the NAR-7090 and NAR-5620/5622 appliances are available for OEMs, according to Shen. Quantity prices (typically for 100 or more units per order) for the NAR-7090 start around $2,000 for a barebones system with no CPU or memory and only basic Ethernet ports; a fully loaded system could run closer to $7,000. Prices for the NAR-5620/5622 range from around $1,500 (barebones) to $4,000 (fully loaded), Shen says.

Competition, according to Shen, includes platform vendors such as Intel and Advantech. He notes, “There are also server motherboard vendors, who provide a board, and somebody else provides the chassis to integrate it. We own our own manufacturing, so we can work with customers to meet their specifications.”

by Daniel P. Dern

Tech & Trends

General Information
June 15, 2007 • Vol.29 Issue 24Page(s) 24 in print issue

Liquid Cooling In The Data Center

An Update Of Products & Technology Designed To Beat The Heat

The inexorable increase in microprocessor speed and complexity is the foundation upon which the panoply of computing and communication devices powering this information age is built. The nasty side effect of denser CPUs with higher clock speeds is the result of an electronic form of friction—electrical signals (however small) travel over wires (however microscopic) with resistive and capacitive loads—a process requiring energy that is ultimately dissipated as heat. The faster signals are switched, the more power (energy per unit of time) is required.

Perusing Intel’s ( CPU data sheets during the past few years illustrates the problem. A now-ancient 75MHz Pentium didn’t use much more power than a night light, a mere 8W. A state-of-the-art, quad-core Core 2 Q6600 runs a blistering 105W, while many high-end Athlon X2’s top that at 125W. Compounding the problem is dense 1U or blade server packaging, often with two CPUs per server, putting more processors in each rack. The net result is that it’s not uncommon for server racks full of high-density systems to consume more than 15kW, with projections upwards of 24 to 48kW per rack—translating to more than 4kW per square foot—by 2010. Getting this amount of heat away from sensitive components before they incinerate is a significant challenge.

SprayCool’s In-Chassis Cooling Module ( has cold plates with piping for cold input and hot return.

Why Liquid?
Recollecting from high school physics, remember that materials have a wide variety of heat-absorption capabilities. Unfortunately, gases (read: air) are at the low end of the spectrum—thus, it’s difficult to transfer much heat through air without a lot of airflow. According to Herb Villa, IT product specialist at enclosure manufacturer Rittal (, “Water is 3,500 times more efficient at transferring and transporting heat than plain old air.” In addition, as Peter Koch, CTO at Knürr (, notes, the heat transfer from a solid to liquid is magnitudes better than that to air. Thus, vendors have developed a variety of products that bring liquid’s heat transfer advantage closer to the heat source.

Product Categories

Patchen Noelke, director of marketing at SprayCool (, describes the cooling market as a four-layer hierarchy. In-room cooling is the most basic level, encompassing traditional HVAC systems using forced air, while in-row products consist of self-contained cooling units placed adjacent to high-density servers. In-row units still rely on airflow through a rack for heat transfer; however, the cool air source and hot air return are in closer proximity to the heat source.

In-rack products, the next layer in Noelke’s hierarchy, build a cooling unit directly into the enclosure, often replacing a rack door, such as in IBM’s Cool Blue Rear Door Heat eXchanger ( This has the advantage of completely isolating a hot rack from the room environment and channeling cool air through the enclosure, making it suitable for both blades and 1U servers. The final category of cooling product, so-called in-chassis, or chip-level coolers, brings liquid’s heat removal properties directly to the heat culprit—the CPU. These units replace the traditional radiator-like metal heatsink on a microprocessor with a liquid-filled cold plate that circulates to an external heat exchanger.

Interesting New Products

A number of companies, from behemoths such as IBM to niche specialists such as SprayCool and Rittal, have developed innovative products to address the burgeoning need for heat removal in high-density racks. Villa of Rittal points to the company’s next-generation Liquid Cooling Package, the LCP+, which features a 30kW capacity, noting, “in addition to providing the greater load capacity, airflow and water flow control has been improved, as well as onboard and remote monitoring and control capabilities,” along with the ability to cool one or two cabinets per unit. Rittal OEMs its product to a number of server and storage vendors, including Dell (, IBM, and NetApp (, and is used in HP’s ( MCS (Modular Cooling System).
The CoolTherm is a similar in-rack product from Knürr, acquired last year by Emerson ( and used in Liebert’s X-Treme Density line of enclosures, which comes in four models ranging in cooling capacity from 10 to 35kW per rack. Koch points out that Knürr introduced this product in 2002 and is on its third generation of design.

Using liquid cooling for the CPU is an old technique introduced years ago in supercomputers such as the Cray-1 and lately popular in high-end gaming PCs. In-chassis cooling systems, such as the SprayCool M Series and similar products such as Knürr’s CPU Cooling System or that used in Pyramid Computer’s Cluster Server (, marry a cold plate on the processor with a rack-mounted manifold and heat exchanger. According to Noelke, a highlight of SprayCool’s system is the use of leak-proof quick connects for all hoses and a special nontoxic, dielectric fluid that won’t damage electronics in the unlikely event of a spill. Heat exchangers on in-chassis systems are typically located at the bottom of the rack and connect to the computer room’s chilled water system.

While ostensibly targeted at large installations with high-density racks, Noelke feels that the SME market is actually a sweet spot because SMEs often have equipment located in office areas not designed as computer rooms and thus difficult to expand with auxiliary conventional forced-air cooling. He remarks that the efficiency and compactness of in-chassis systems can enable smaller companies “to double the number of servers in a convenient location.” Furthermore, he feels that in-chassis systems are the most efficient means of heat removal, noting that they can cool a 12kW rack with only 200W, saving up to 20% in energy costs.

Cooling Of The Future

While CPU manufacturers seem committed to improving the power efficiency of new designs, as witnessed by Intel’s proclamation that its latest Xeon chips usher in “a new era of power efficiency,” the increasing number of processor cores per chip will likely erode these gains, as will the continued push to high-density server packaging. Thus, the need for heat removal in crowded 1U or blade server racks will escalate and exceed the physical limits of conventional room-level, forced-air systems. Liquid-cooling solutions, whether tightly integrated with an equipment rack or embedded within the server, are the most promising solution for taking the heat off of such consolidated, high-density servers.

Knürr’s ( CoolTherm In-Rack Cooling Product includes fans that are mounted in rack doors with a closed circulation heat exchanger at the bottom. They connect to a building’s chilled water system so that dissipated heat is not added to the room’s thermal load.

by Kurt Marko

Information Technology landscape in PORTUGAL

Computer Hardware and Software

Size of domestic hardware production: nmf. Domestic production is mainly in support of telecommunications services and equipment for export and domestic usage. Portugal's telecommunications trade balance is consistently negative, with Portuguese telecommunications equipment exports serving the EU (especially Germany) and Portuguese speaking African countries (Angola and Mozambique) predominantly. Main providers to the Portuguese market include Siemens Nixdorf, Alcatel, Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson, Cisco and Newbridge Networks.

Size of domestic software production:4 Imports play a significant role in the Portuguese software market. Seventy-five percent of the Portuguese software market is served by American firms, either operating in Portugal via distributors or subsidiaries, or by American firms operating in Europe and trademarking software to American-Portuguese joint ventures. Imports from Germany, Japan and the UK also serve the Portuguese market for computer software.

Scale of the Portuguese Software Market as of 1996:

  • $240 million total
  • $158 million domestic production
  • $180 million imported
  • $ 98 million exported

Software Suppliers to the Portuguese Market:

About 50 Portuguese firms produce computer software and services in Portugal, employing 1289 workers. The top ten worldwide suppliers of software have a presence in Portugal.
Six of these are US companies with branch offices in Portugal: IBM, Microsoft, Computer Associates, Oracle, Novell, and Digital Equipment Corporation
Three are Japanese companies: Fujitsu, NEC and Hitachi
One is German: Siemens Nixdorf

Multimedia Industry:

According to the Educational Multimedia Task Force (see reference 15a) there is no consolidated multimedia industry in the country, but there are a "plethora" of software development SMEs and some research and development centers devoted to multimedia who have also gotten into the area of production. The R&D centers generally produce multimedia titles for education; their financing, either through national or EC programs, result in unfair competition for private software developers.

Major Players in IT sectors:5 Siemens, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Ford, Volkswagen, GM and Portugal Telecom. The automotive industry is a major user of IT in Portugal, and domestic and foreign suppliers support the main automakers throughout the value chain.
  • Siemens: has had a presence in Portugal for 90 years, but Portugal Telecom's digitalization efforts has created new opportunities. In 1987, Siemens entered into a joint venture with a local company to manufacture digital switching equipment for the local market and for export. Siemens provides 60% of the digital switching equipment used by Portugal Telecom. It recently contracted with Portugal Telecom to deliver 1 million local lines capable of ISDN for voice, video and data transmission. In addition, Siemens is producing software to operate the digital switching exchanges in Lisbon, in conjunction with Siemens operations in Boca Raton Florida and Munich, Germany, among others.
  • Texas Instruments and Samsung, Joint Venture: Texas Instruments (TI) has been manufacturing integrated circuits in Maia, near Porto, since 1973. In 1994, Samsung joined TI, making the Maia plant a joint venture. Samsung added CD-ROM computer memory products to TI's integrated circuit production in order to gain an advantage in the growing EU market. The operation was Samsung's first semiconductor production outside South Korea.
  • AutoEuropa: since 1995 is a joint venture between Ford Motors and Volkswagen to build the Ford Galaxy and the Volkswagen Sharan, which are both multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) that combine the advantages of a passenger car with those of a minivan. Total investment in Portugal exceeds $2.54 billion (the largest foreign investment contribution in Portugal,) which has been used to establish a state-of-the-art plant in Palmela that uses the most advanced technologies in automation and computerized production control.
  • Ford Electronica Portuguesa: Manufactures variable scroll air compressors based on the latest technology in air compression for use in automoblile air conditioning units. Ford is investing an additional $230 million in its electronic components plant in Palmela, just south of Lisbon, to meet the growing demand of EU consumers for air-conditioned-equipped automobiles. By the year 2003, Ford estimates that its exports will result in $1.5 billion in sales.
  • Delco Remi: is a joint venture between Delphi Automotive Systems and General Motors. Delco manufactures ignition products, sensors and solenoids using a vertical manufacturing base in Portugal's Setubal region. In 1997 it procured an opportunity to produce Anti Skid Braking Systems sensors, as well. Annual production exceeds 4 million units across five production lines for shipment to customers on five continents.
  • Portugal Telecom: Please refer to "IT Geographics" for information on PT's IT research efforts.

Marketplace: The Portuguese market for IT has developed around the automotive and telecommunications industries. Portugal is evolving as an attractive location for the manufacture of software and hardware IT, but currently does not offer a robust domestic marketplace relative to those countries known for IT prowess, such as the US, Singapore, India, Ireland, etc. Nevertheless, several prominent software providers exist in Portugal due to its low cost, fairly skilled and hard-working labor, the strategic location of Portugal between northern and southern Europe, its membership in the EU, and its temperate climate.


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