AMD Teams With NYSERDA, HP, and Clarkson University
August 01, 2011 -- Investment will fund study on clouds fueled by wind and solar power
AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced its participation with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), HP and Clarkson University in a significant research project that looks at the industry-wide challenge of channeling renewable energy directly to data centers.
“The distributed computing model of the cloud parallels the distributed power-generation model of solar and wind energy. Directing power to data centers from these emerging renewable energy resources without relying on a large-scale, traditional electrical grid is a key challenge,” said Alan Lee, corporate vice president of Research and Advanced Development, AMD. “One ultimate goal is the co-location of dynamic energy sources with dynamic computing resources to improve the economics, performance, and environmental benefits of both infrastructures.”
Because wind and solar-derived energy can be intermittent, this study will also examine critical questions of how to automatically shift a compute load between data centers and maintain reliability.
Backing from NYSERDA and additional private funding sources are enabling this proposal, developed by AMD engineers in conjunction with Clarkson University, to enter the research phase. Students will begin experimentation on effectively managing data through a distributed network based on renewable energy. The second phase of the project plans to incorporate hardware elements, including HP’s Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD) based on the AMD Opteron™ processor, purpose-built for energy efficiency and cloud computing.
HP POD Technology
HP’s POD portfolio includes the industry’s leading energy-efficient, modular data center. Built on HP Converged Infrastructure, HP POD technology provides clients currently burdened with aging infrastructure, limited space and shrinking budgets the agility needed to rapidly scale and meet increasing capacity demands. According to HP, the newest solution in the HP POD family, the EcoPOD, can offer 95 percent greater energy efficiency when compared to traditional brick-and-mortar data centers.1 HP will offer this project its POD expertise in energy-efficient data center design that delivers maximum density with greater serviceability.
The AMD Research Office
AMD Research conducts work on next-generation computing questions in the areas of systems and technologies, network infrastructure and power, among others. It also collaborates on projects with leading universities, public sector organizations and commercial labs worldwide.
- AMD@Work blog: “I Love NY”
- Clarkson University Research and Innovation
- AMD “Bulldozer” Interactive Video Series
Here is the blog post named "I love NY" exactly as posted. You will find additional information in it.
Not to diminish its wealth of other charms, but from a purely technological standpoint, New York State is a marvel. It has the second highest concentration of data centers in the country behind California, and my friends at NYSERDA (the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) are expecting to see a doubling of the compute power in the next few years. Meanwhile, it is no secret that Wall Street is running some of the most demanding data center workloads in the world. In fact, that particular financial community’s IT needs, such as power and real-estate constraints, have acted as a leading indicator of issues experienced by the rest of the computing world.
Thanks in part to AMD’s technological leadership in low-power processors and optimization of the server platform roadmap for density, the issues around power in the data center power are fairly well understood, and we have helped OEMs develop some smart solutions on the market today with more coming very soon.
However, it is not enough to think about this year or even the next 5 years. What happens in the timeframe that is “off the roadmap” of today’s technology? This is where AMD’s research team has posed some key questions and NYSERDA has stepped up along with Clarkson University in upstate NY, HP, and other industry partners to help answer the questions.
We know that renewable energy – solar and wind power – plays a major role in our future. How do we link this vital resource to the data center and I mean directly link power source to servers? (You know AMD is all about eliminating the bottlenecks!) That is one key issue – getting power from a wind turbine directly to a data center like an HP POD without building a traditional electrical grid between the two.
Renewable sources can also be intermittent. What do you do if the sun does not shine one day or there is an atypical calm in the wind one evening? A data center’s reliability cannot tolerate lulls in the action, so a big question from our AMD Research labs that takes this all one step further is “How can we shift a compute load automatically and reliably between renewable energy sources without resorting to a traditional electrical grid?”
This is a multi-faceted problem and we expect the solutions will fundamentally alter how we design and build computing resources in the future. The economic implications are not insignificant. For example, the cost of laying optical fibers is orders of magnitude less than the cost of building power lines. Estimates can range from $500/mile for “dark” fibers to $15,000/mile for new optical fibers compared to $750k-2 million/mile for new electric transmission lines. The potential gains for the IT industry and the energy sector are exciting and, frankly, huge. You can bet you will be hearing more about this in the months and years to come.
Alan Lee is the corporate vice president of Research and Advanced Development at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied. Share this post on AMD Teams With NYSERDA, HP, and Clarkson University