[oclug] Environmental Issue
lists at l8r.net
Mon Apr 23 10:01:42 EDT 2007
On Mon, 23 Apr 2007 09:19:04 -0400
miden <miden at travel-net.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 2007-04-23 at 08:28 -0400, Brad Barnett wrote:
> > On Mon, 23 Apr 2007 06:15:29 -0400
> > miden <miden at travel-net.com> wrote:
> > > A few months ago on this list, and presently on the Tech list, there
> > > has been some discussion of the power consumption of the various
> > > bits and pieces of equipment we all may use. This raises an
> > > interesting question: Would it be environmentally beneficial to have
> > > all computer services provided from central servers rather than have
> > > hundreds of millions of individuals (and millions of businesses)
> > > running there own clusters of hardware?
> > With vitalization and direct DC power to the servers, yes.
> > >
> > > Would centralisation of services provide any significant
> > > environmental benefit (economies of scale?) through reduced
> > > electrical power consumption -and additionally through any reduction
> > > in the need for hardware containing hazardous materials?
> > >
> > > I'm not suggesting that I advocate this - it raises a lot of issues
> > > such as security, reliablility, privacy, control of the operating
> > > system, possibile difficulties with introducing new software
> > > applications etc.
> > >
> > And, this paragraph states why it isn't done. Corporations (and
> > individuals) like to have control of their data.
> I don't know if you could say that the majority of individuals would see
> this as a significant concern (and I'm sure that any such service would
> come with recommendations that the individual back up their personal
> data to DVD etc. - uh-oh).
A majority of individuals do not have servers at their home.
In looking at your above question again, I see you did not specify
servers. However, if you want to offload desktops to remote server
farms, one must access that remote server. In order to access the
server, one must have some form of computer.
You can certainly take that computer, and "dumb" down the device, making
it only a monitor with keyboard, mouse and networking device. However,
you still have an energy load, and many machines are very good at saving
power these days. For example, using a laptop as your "main" computer is
likely as power friendly as using a laptop like device to remotely access
a server cluster. Most laptops, if configured correctly, will go into
power saving mode, will reduce CPU speed, and so on.. when the CPU is not
There may be minor power savings if one reduced machine memory and hard
drive size.. but we'll all be switching to flash like devices for hard
drives in laptops fairly soon.
> Small and medium sized businesses might see such a service as a means of
> eliminating any concerns and expense(!) relating to managing their IT
First, eliminate the "sized businesses" above, and convert that to "IT
sized businesses". We should be looking at the general IT requirements of
the firm in question, not the size of that firm. Some firms are huge, but
have minor IT requirements.. whereas some small business have HUGE IT
For example, it is entirely possible to have a 1000 person staff and only
one computer. It is also possible to have a staff of 4, with 400
computers. IT requirements relative to the type of work being done, with
the staff as a multiplier.
Well, any elimination of concern is a false hope. You only change the
entity with whom you are concerned about.
Expense.. perhaps. However, if all services are outsourced.. then one
still must have local computers to access those services, a network
infrastructure, an internet link, and of course security. As well, one
will have to ensure that these devices are patched, even the simplest of
devices may develop security holes (although, they are easier to protect).
There are some pluses, but they are not in the range of "everything is
perfect and wonderful now".
> Large corporations would certainly have the means to manage ongoing
> backups but might still welcome the elimination of much of their IT
> support staff (outsourcing, anyone?).
Outsourcing has been done in every field, and virtually every type of
business, for thousands of years. ;) Usually, however, outsourcing that
you seem to be talking about (and has been in the news lately) generally
has nothing to do with core services.
It has to do with support services for customers.. typically technical
support and the like.
General outsourcing though, as I said, has been done for quite some time.
I personally *do* just that, for quite a few local companies. They have
virtually no support staff except for me. I am called when the need
After all, why hire full time support staff when it is not required? As
well, why hire an expert admin for three times the cost of a junior
admin? Hire the junior admin, and call someone like me in when you
require expert support. Yes, it does save.
However, in all these cases of outsourcing, the data is still local. I
can not envision a large corporation with heavy IT requirements
outsourcing their data. The security aspect alone is staggering. The
privacy implications as well.
Certainly, any firm which has significant IP tied to their data should be
shot for outsourcing that data. Why not take research projects in
progress, soon-to-be-filed for patent documents, and a thousand other "top
secret" docs and store them across town with someone else?! This is the
age where previous state "secret" services are now employed to steal data
from foreign corporations to give to corporate bodies at home. This is
the age where third world (soon to be first world) nations spend millions
of man hours stealing secrets from the corporate bodies of the first
This is a world where one's entire corporate wealth can lay in bits and
bytes. One just can't let that data out of sight.
> I've seen a few comments suggesting that Vista will be the last MS
> 'operating system' and that MS would like to move to a
> pay-for-what-you-use-from-our-central-service model. I can see them
> citing environmental issues as one more reason for adoption... and at
> the moment as MS goes so goes the IT world.
I've seen these comments for 20 years, with varying service models. They
always fall flat on their face. Of course, that doesn't mean they always
will.. but, I don't see how anything has changed.
As for MS deciding where the IT world goes.. they don't have the same
level of push they used to have. Certainly not. For example, they're
stated that they're going to cease selling XP early next year to big box
Well, I've now heard more than one whisper of entire companies switching
to Linux if that is the case. Why? Well, their entire company must run
one operating system, of course, and if they can only buy new Dell
machines with Vista, then that means that _all_ machines must run Vista.
For them to convert all machines, it means that they will have to
effectively scrap all of their current hardware, and buy all new hardware
with the CPU and ram requirements that Vista needs.
Their other choice is to use Linux and Openoffice. They're now testing
that choice. Microsoft can only push so far now, before people decide
they might go another route... such as with ODF for example..
> Obviously a linux/Open Source base might be a strong contender for
> anyone who might think of establishing a competing service.
> Personally, I don't think I'd like it but I can see the present personal
> computer model being replaced by something similar to the phone service
> model or cable/satellite tv. That would seem to be an even greater
> possibility if environmental issues are a legitimate factor.
> I don't see too many people on this list dumping much of their hardware
> (in an environmentally safe manner, of course :-) ) for environmental
> reasons but I can see it having an appeal out in the world in general
> when added to the promise of lower initial hardware costs and built in
> don't-worry-about-it support.
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