Cisco Blogs

EnergyWise Development and Data Centers

- April 5, 2009 - 20 Comments

A quick overview on some of the progress being made in San Jose on EnergyWise. As you will hear we are taking a staged approach as there is a lot of ground to cover. It’s too early for us to offer exact milestones but this interview will give you a sense of the scope we are considering in our development. As Matt Laherty often says, we are laser focused on “smart loads” at scale in the near term. This is close to our space and the technology we develop for smart loads will be directly extensible to “smart grids”. Keep in mind that from an energy monitoring standpoint, data centers are similar to any other room in the building. Energy control of course is a whole different ballgame and one we will be implementing into Cisco IT very carefully.This video was taken by Rich Miller who writes for Data Center Knowledge and has a great YouTube site that has a ton of content related to data centers and energy. The Green train keeps on rolling with energy and carbon being the first resource management areas. This was the hot topic for the show Rich and I attended in San Francisco in March where the video was taken. The GigaOm GreenNet show was well attended and…I was particularly encouraged by the level of discussion this year. In the last 3 years that I’ve been a full time Green collar here at Cisco I’ve seen a marked progression in the level of discussion around the broad notion of “Green IT”. This is how I’ve seen the progression on both a business, social and technical fronts:2007 Technical – it was very much about data centers experiencing problems with power capacity and thermal density, some brought on by the advent of blade servers, some by the shear growth of energy requirements on a macro scale.Business – the first broad emergence of executive fear, uncertainty and doubt around potential regulations and brand concerns like when GreenPeace took a shot at Apple.Social – in the US at least, whole new demographics started to wake up and realize that we’ve been living and working beyond our means.2008Technical – thermal and capacity issues continue in data centers and a recognition of the “if I can’t measure it I can’t manage it” scenario emerges. Consortia form and the US govt gets active in getting their hands around the scope of the issues. For many mainstream technology developers, Green is now starting to get put into the “too hard” bucket or energy management is too far out of peoples comfort zones. Furthermore there is a shortage of talent conversant in both energy and IT.Business – some forward thinking executives start to have their “ah-hah” moment and see the business case for actively managing energy.Social – Green expands into areas previously unimagined. Local and organic food purchasing continues to take market share as people start to make connections within their individual lives and the globalized world we live in. Authors respected in other areas like Thomas Friedman (see below) are now established educators on the strategic nature of energy (as a subset of Green).2009Technical – hate to toot our own horn here, but networking Giant Cisco pushes the industry way forward by working out common monitoring and control within the established confines of networking using a code set that already runs across the vast majority of the worldwide web. A Green IT Sputnik is launched. Coupled with management, virtualization gets a whole lot easier and cloud architectures begin to codify.Business – the future leaders in energy and in general, resource management begin to emerge. Projects started in 2007-2008 come out of discovery mode, real investment begins to use IT to tackle the single largest unmanaged cost of most business, energy.Social – people start to ask deeper questions, especially of the marketing out there. Some see greenwashing for what it is, companies trying to make a buck but being ethically short-sighted. Politics have changed and people are starting to see the clear connections between big business special interests, the environment and security. More people watch films like “who killed the electric car” and we for the first time see environmental issues for what they are, completely integral to all the other issues we deal with daily, especially economic ones.If these trends continue, this should be a big year for the IT industry to offer some real solutions to some pressing global issues around the environment. I have never been more encouraged and hope to see a snowball effect of investment and innovation in Green IT in the very near future. If things time well we could have the tools built in the next 4 years that would enable governments across the globe to get serious about managing climate change. Aside from the obvious challenges to this statement; technical, political, change modeling, IT security and so on, there is one big social equalizer when you consider the IT industries position here. In this case, the IT industry is a “Green arms dealer”. We will develop tools that will level the playing field and expose the reality of resource consumption and environmental degradation today. Making things transparent and making management cost effective will be bad news for polluters but great news for the masses whose popular opinion is now behind more sustainable living, working and playing.On this last paragraph, I’m on the fence about authoring a post just dedicated to the social enabling implications of easy, open and cost effective resource management tools. What do you think, should we delve further into this discussion?Thanks for reading.

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  1. Thanks Tibia! You can also find more detail on Energywise on our Ecolibrium blog at

  2. To keep things simple, please include any links to relevant content you would like highlight.Thanks.

  3. Sorry but I'm not sure I follow your thread here. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not sure I fully understand the design without seeing it modeled. I read your post and it's clear you understand the thermodynamics at play in the data center.If you're asking for advice on a patent submission, this is not the right forum and I'm not the right person as my education is not in patent law.Thanks and good luck with the design.PS - a good site for posting a .ppt mock up is

  4. I agree simplicity is beauty.I follow your concept and think it makes sense in theory. However, it sounds like we both have some background in data center mechanics.For the majority of the IT users I've interfaced with, they are relatively new to mechanical engineering and look to specify based on ease of management, density capabilities and operative efficiency. Many on the IT side I see don't delve too deep into metrics on cooling, rather they defer to a Mechie of some sort.Where does your design principle stand? Is it deployed? Do you have any kind of computational fluid dynamics modeling done for it? What could we show to help IT decision makers understand the nuance of what you describe in your comments and in the context of the care abouts I mentioned above (efficiency, density, easy?)I would like to know more too.Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Arthur,Your link didn't come through in the comment but I was able to find your post here: like the principle of what you describe where you are using natural convection to move air. Based on your post it looks like you've picked the 55 degrees to create the right pressure profile to move the air (which of course is balanced with IT equipment fan CFM's).One this to consider (which you probably have) is to up this temp if possible.You may have noticed Google is targeting set temps of 80F. A good video on it here:<object width=425"" height=""344""><param name=""movie"" value=""""><embed src="""" type=""application/x-shockwave-flash"" allowscriptaccess=""always"" allowfullscreen=""true"" width=""425"" height=""344""></embed></object>Thanks for the comments Arthur."

  6. Good points. I've been particularly encouraged by the work the facilities vendors have been doing to address this (Emerson and APC) with close-coupled cooling.Also, the SuperNAP data center in Las Vegas has an incredible in house approach to this.I agree with your point that getting savvy with thermals is straight physics and you can't ignore that!Thanks for the comment.

  7. Your article is nice.Thanks for your sharing,it helps me more.I will look forward to your more wonderfull articles.Have a good time.

  8. I am waiting for an offer to purchase my technology,if this falls through I will be looking to do cfd modeling to add to my files.thank you for your suggestions and I hope someday we can talk again.aelarsen

  9. I saw verari cooling system with airflow in the bottom and out the top.this still creates higher temperatures as the flow moves upward from each level.My airbox system gives the same temperature at each level because it draws off a constant flow that is the primary and the airflow temperature through the heat load is constant at each level.

  10. I was venting about how difficult the process has been.thank you for taking the time to respond and I will try that site.

  11. I just read the paperwork for a submission,I need my atty to look at it first.I feel very discouraged.any words of wisdom?

  12. I am doing a formal submission to...keep your fingers crossedI will let you know how I make out

  13. this system is not deployed.I have been working on the patent side of the equation.the basic principles of a primary-secondary system are used in many other applications.the main principle of the system is that the secondary(heat load) draws only what is required primary.different heat loads will draw off what each piece needs.the system is simple,economical and green"" and will be easily communicated to it background is as a design build mechanical contractor.I have 30 years experience.If you have any suggestions for how I can move this forward......thank you"

  14. one final thought,the airbox"" system can replace rack,row and room systems.The system can serve all types of heat loads. the system is simple to use,easy to maintain and monitor. With the ""airbox"" the cooling is a constant that is only drawn upon based on heat load requirements(server fan cfm)The simple fact that the ""airbox"" is a constant allows different heat load applications in the same room to be served with the same system.simplicity is beautiful.....let me know your thoughts,I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this in greater detail.thank you"

  15. everything comes down to kw per ton and total tonnage required.containers (google)do not adress this aspect.It is neat and pretty in a box and metrics are known so add boxes until you get what you per ton and total tonnage required are still the metrics that will impact data center green design.

  16. the 55 degree air curtain temperature is (adjustable).the concept of the air curtain airbox"" remains the same(cool,contain and segregate)standard hot aisle/cold aisle configuration does not allow constant temperature regulation.using high temperature hvac systems for high density heat loads does not work and is inefficient.the ""airbox provides the same level of cooling as an enclosure and allows service to equipment.just reach through the air curtain for access."

  17. I have a design for a cooling system that uses 55 degree air curtains to create an airbox"" around the heat source.this provides containment,segregation of heat outflow and also is the cooling source.the system uses a primary-secondary configuration with the primary air flowing from the floor to the ceiling in a directed stream(air curtain).the secondary airflow is the airflow through the heat source.this ""airbox"" configuration allows a constant environment at all points from floor to the ceiling.the concept of hot/cold aisle is removed as the""airbox"" contains all of the blog at the data center journal titled ""green data center cooling""has a link to files for viewing.THINK INSIDE THE BOX ""AIRBOX"""^0^1^^^0^0 13647^7185^Sergio Pinto^^^^2009-04-28 11:38:42^2009-04-28 11:38:42^Bom dia Carlos Garcia,Obrigado pelo seu comentário. A Cisco já disponibiliza na sua oferta a integração com várias soluções de fax. Esta integração é conseguida através da utilização de protocolos standard de comunicação de fax sobre IP(por exemplo T38) permitindo a adopção de virtualmente qualquer solução de Fax Server. A Cisco, de forma a facilitar o processo de aquisição e instalação de uma solução de Unified Communications, tem disponível na sua lista de produtos soluções de Fax Server que considera as melhores disponíveis no mercado: Cisco Fax Server(OpenText-Captaris RightFax) e a Sagem-Interstar XMedius.Para informação sobre o Cisco Fax Server: informação sobre o Sagem-Interstar XMedius: dúvida ou questão por favor contacte-me.CumprimentosSérgio PintoUC Systems Engineer^0^1^^^0^0 13477^7206^aelarsen^^^^2009-04-17 15:43:46^2009-04-17 15:43:46^I have added a new schematic on my blog link.the new schematic shows free cooling to the air curtain ahuthe link file should be updated by 4-15-09this will supply free cooling depending on ambient temperature.^0^1^^^0^0 13412^6388^Devon Cottages^^^^2009-04-13 20:14:23^2009-04-13 20:14:23^This was a good move from Cisco and I believe it will take them forward in their goal of creating a comprehensive cloud-based collaboration platform.^0^1^^^0^0 13413^7119^Carlos Orozco^^^^2009-04-08 23:42:07^2009-04-08 23:42:07^In Emerging Markets the real cost is not the TP hardware but the WAN costs associated in its operation.The average MPLS for a branch office in LATAM is around 512kbps and 1Mbps for really big offices, and most IT managers are trying to cut those expenses migrating to ADSL even when it is not reliable for critical business operation.The Telepresence rooms Ive seen are connected using another link with a pay-per-use contract that still insanely expensive but with that schema companies just pay the 4-5 hours/day and wont open it for regular employees if it will cost the company.To increase the use of TP in emerging countries what I think you can do is work with the SP providers to offer more affordable WAN links to be used with this technology.^0^1^^^0^0 13414^7211^ccna^^^^2009-04-07 15:15:07^2009-04-07 15:15:07^"Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!ccent ccna"

  18. well done!

  19. good job!

  20. containment of cooling airflow and heat outflow as well as segregation of heat from cooling return will reduce tonnage,cost of buildout,system life cycle costs and energy usage.With the heat loads presently generated and the limitations of cooling technologythere is no other way to solve this problem