Green Screens for Earth Day

A Green Screen from the 1970s

A Green Screen from the 1970s

Original Post:   21 April 2008
A few of us are old enough to remember the old “green screens” of IBM terminals in the 1960’s and 70’s.   In these days of BlackBerries and mice and touchscreens, “green screens” and line-by-line outputs seem quaint, but once they were very innovative compared to “punch cards”.
Well, “green IT” is coming back.   We’ve suddenly discovered that our appetite for technology is filling up data centers with servers and hard drive storage and network switches, all of which suck electrical energy like a refrigerator gone bad or a steel mill.  
What are we doing at the City of Seattle to “get more green” and use less energy?    First, we’re really getting in to “virtualization”.   For the last few years, whenever we’ve added an application, we’ve added a server.  A new online payment system for electrical permits?  Add a server.  A new business license system?  Add a server or two or three (application server, database server, presentation server, etc.).   Often, each server was only 5% or 10% used.
With new technology, such as VMWare software, we can use one physical server to emulate five or ten or even 40 servers.  And use one-fifth, one-tenth or one-fourtieth of the power and the cooling and the space.  We are actively pursing a “green IT” technology using VMWare.  The “new green screens”!

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Filed under environment, history of technology

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