Also in the digital economy location matters, but by moving your workload you can save money. The location of your data center can make a difference in energy costs. “So can this be the starting of moving your IT workload, on the virtualized infrastructure, to the place where the energy price is the lowest?” was the end of the blog entry “Power usage and money savings” earlier this year about the huge price differences in electricity.
A recent study from researchers at MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and the networking company Akamai suggests that such Internet businesses could reduce their energy use by as much as 40 percent by rerouting data to locations where electricity prices are lowest on a particular day.
Asfandyar Qureshi, a PhD student at MIT, first outlined the idea of a smart routing algorithm that would track electricity prices to reduce costs. This year, Qureshi and colleagues approached researchers at Akamai to obtain the real-world routing data needed to test the idea. The team then devised a routing scheme designed to take advantage of daily and hourly fluctuations in electricity costs.
“We introduce Power-Demand Routing (PDR), a technique that redistributes traffic between replicas with the express purpose of spatially redistributing the system’s power consumption, in order to reduce operating costs. Cost can be described in monetary terms or in terms of pollution. Within existing Internet services, each client request requires a meaningful amount of marginal energy at the server. Thus, by rerouting requests from a server at one geographic location to another, we can spatially shift the s marginal power consumption at Internet speeds.” as stated by Qureshi. Qureshi shows “how PDR can be used to reduce electric bills. He describe how to couple request routing policy to real-time price signals from wholesale electricity markets. In response to price-differentials, PDR skews client load across a system’s clusters and pushes server power-demand into the least expensive regions”. His conclusion is that existing systems can use PDR to cut their annual electric bills by millions of dollars.”
Setting a price for carbon emission will have a huge effect on (IT) economics. Its time to get the impact of a “carbon tax” on the radar screen of organizations as explained in the blog entry IT Carbon Emission is a million business. In his thesis, ‘Power-Demand Routing in Massive Geo-Distributed Systems’, Qureshi also show how PDR can be used to reduce carbon footprints. “Not all joules are created equal and in power pools like the grid the environmental impact per joule varies geographically and in time. We show how to construct carbon cost functions that can be used with PDR to dynamically push a system’s power-demand toward clean energy system”.
But beware we are not talking about sustainability we are talking about money: these ideas are not about energy or carbon savings but about energy and carbon costs savings.