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Media - Calibre

Buy blade PCs, say datacentre experts. But do we believe them?

Published by Martin Veitch: Friday, 09 November 2007, 12:37 PM

Blade PC are the way forward for companies that wantto save energy, according to a pair of datacentre design outfits.

Galileo Connect, which styles itself as "the globalpioneer of the pre-designed datacentre", and the daftly-named consultancy hurleypalmerflatt, say their joint survey found that blades halve power bills compared to desktop PCs, reduce carbon footprints (dread phrase), and improve the image of firms that use them.

The designers back up their findings by citing Carbon Trust research showing that 15 per cent of all UK energy consumption is by office equipment, and that this could rise to 30 per cent items by 2020.

Hmm. There's no doubt that the fat beige box is a power hog but groups like the Climate Savers Initiative are already trying to do something about the fact that PCs lose about half of their electricity between plug socket and CPU. PC blades are an interesting concept but they don't do a lot to help mobile PC users, which is getting on for half of us here, and more than half in countries like the US and Japan (and a lot more than half of heavy-usage folks, we suspect). Also, laptops are often used on battery charge rather than with an AC connection, which is A Good Thing.

And here's another thing: saving power on office equipment is fine but few companies seem to have a good strategy for saving on other power hogs such as lighting, heating or aircon. And very few have much of a policy about turning off screens or PCs. Just look around your office when you're working late, or look at London next time you're landing at Heathrow: the place is lit up like a Christmas tree whether its 5pm or 3am.

Another problem is that the environmental arguments about computers have been hijacked by the PR industrywith outrageous research claims handed out like confetti at a wedding. This latest research suggests UK businesses are wasting £61 million a year. The suspicion remains that vested interests are using statistics in the same way the drunkard uses a lamp-post - more for support than illumination.

Also, have you noticed that the same companies peddling a green line today (hullo Sun, IBM, HP) arevery similar in appearance to the companies that dealt for many years in gas guzzling boxes that were jam-packed with toxins? Could they perhaps be related?


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