I am interviewing Michael K Patterson, PhD, PE, Senior Power/Thermal Architect, Eco-Technology Program Office, Digital Enterprise Group at Intel. (That’s quite a title - I am glad I was able write that rather than say it outloud…) Michael:
1. I understand you have written a white paper about the energy efficiency of thin client desktops. Can you briefly talk about that? (when it was published, where it can be found, etc.)
Well, no, that’s not exactly what we found. The results showed that thin clients, laptops, and desktops all can be very energy efficient when done correctly. The key finding was that thin clients are not always the most efficient model, even though there has been a lot of press claiming they are. In fact the most efficient model was a laptop. Of course to keep it fair, if you add an LCD display to the laptop for in-office use things are a lot closer.
3. Were you surprised by your own conclusions?
In any of this we should not
judge what’s best until we do the whole analysis. And of course, energy efficiency is only part
of the analysis. TCO, security, and
manageability all come into play, as does the ability to work remotely. When I presented the paper in
Each site needs to do their own detailed analysis. But when you think of how precious the data center space is, these results shouldn’t surprise anyone. I have heard people who have to build and pay for them say “let’s get the Powerpoint out of the datacenter”. When you do the math, it makes a lot of sense.
4. Can you give specifics on better solutions for call centers, doctor’s offices, and other traditional thin client environments?
5. What would be the best way
to obtain energy efficiency gains throughout an entire IT life cycle, i.e.,
where the data center is just one aspect of the entire picture?
5. What would be the best way to obtain energy efficiency gains throughout an entire IT life cycle, i.e., where the data center is just one aspect of the entire picture?
6. Well of course that doesn’t include embedded energy, and I know Intel is studying the impact and that recycling more computer hardware is uppermost in your research. Separately, do you have ideas on added original research to be done on this topic?
Hmmm, original research? I can’t think of any specific scientific research needed on this as much as we need better tools to help the end-user to do the full analysis. If all we do is look at the specific watts of an individual desktop, laptop, and thin client and pick the thin client because it is lowest, we could very well regret that choice. That’s where more work can be done, tools for analysis.
HAVE A GREEN DAY!