Consolidating for cashIntel is apparently whipping its data centres into shape, with the company's chief information officer, Diane Bryant, stating the firm is taking serious steps towards higher server-farm efficiency in an attempt to save itself some $250-million by 2015.
According to PC World, Bryant declared that the firm had already slashed the number of data centres by 50 per cent and was pressing on to consolidate as many servers as possible within the next eight years.
Specifically, Bryant, speaking at an event, told her audience that Intel had cut its data centres down from a peak 147 to 70, along with implementing a four-year refresh cycle, beginning in 2007, for maximal financial efficiency.
Some might argue that swapping out servers every four years can hardly be called efficient, but Bryant explained that older servers drained financial resources quicker, being more difficult and often more costly to replace on a like-for-like basis, sapping precious cash for system maintenance, as well as being far less efficient than newer models.
Intel is purportedly moving to substitute one Nehalem-based quad-core Xeon chip for every 10 single-core Xeon chips currently being used, eliminating masses of hardware, energy and cooling costs whilst, Bryant claims, boosting performance.
Intel runs around 100,000 servers, 80,000 of which are dedicated to its high-performance computing environment. The chip firm also has 20,000 "office" servers for day-to-day operations. In terms of efficiency, Bryant said the firm shoots for 85 per cent utilisation in the HPC environment and 65 per cent for the office servers, an achievement facilitated by using virtualisation and, lately, the all-encompassing cloud.
The credit crunch has forced even Intel to tighten its IT expenditure belt, and the firm reckons it has saved $45-million on data-centre costs in 2008.
Cooling servers is still proving costly, explained Bryant, who said Intel had yet to discover a perfectly "efficient data centre", but continues to experiment with new ways to circumvent the problem in order to dramatically slice its energy bills down to size.
But what happens to all the old, unwanted servers? Surely there must be a cost associated with disposing of them, right?