GreenIT.fr has picked up on a recent announcement by Microsoft of a new product that will measure the energy efficiency of software.
The Joulemeter solution, announced at Microsoft’s recent TechFest event, measures the energy usage of virtual machines, servers, desktops, laptops and even individual pieces of software. According to the limited information from Microsoft that I could find, Joulemeter estimates the energy usage by measuring the hardware resources (CPU, disk, memory, screen, etc.) being used and converting it to actual power usage based on automatically learned power models.
Microsoft maintains that the software can be used for gaining visibility into energy use and for making power management and provisioning decisions in data centres, client computing, and software design.
The company says that a freely downloadable version of the Joulemeter software, for measuring laptop and desktop energy usage, will be be available in a few weeks. (GreenIT.fr says April 1st).
This is interesting because of its focus on software energy use in general and virtual machines in particular. To date the focus in reducing IT power consumption has been primarily on the hardware – more energy efficient machines, consolidation, virtualisation, etc. This is fairly easy stuff that many would argue should have been done before, given the cost savings.
But things will get harder. Because the use of IT can only increase (and should increase, in order to enable carbon savings elsewhere), the underlying power requirement is on an inexorable upward climb. But there will continue to be pressure on IT departments to minimise power use, so the focus will increasingly drill down to hardware component level and software. There has already been some concern that the sprawl of virtual machines is creating its own problems, so this Microsoft offering may help get a handle on the issue.
It sounds like a fairly crude solution (apologies if I’m wrong but there’s not much info) but will undoubtedly be followed by increasingly sophisticated tools.