HP Labs Belive Datacentres can Cut 70% Power Use

HP Labs, the research arm of technology provider HP, has argued that companies should be deploying photonics within the datacentre(DC) in order to reduce power usage by as much as 70 per cent.

Photonics is a technology that uses fibre optics rather than copper cable.

"We're looking at how to take 70 per cent of the power usage out of the datacentre, using things like power-efficient memory, as well as the application of photonics, using light instead of electrical signals," said Ian Brooks, European head of innovation and sustainable computing at HP.

Brooks explained that the root of the problem lies in current materials being used to kit of datacentres. Most centres have large amounts of copper cabling inside servers, and between racks. If these are replaced with fibre optics, there will be a number of potential cut-backs.

"You can send far more data down a cable using light than you can with copper, but you also generate a lot less heat, due to the electrical resistance of copper. Also copper is a scarcer mineral than silicon - so it's better from a resource perspective."

Additionally he said if DC's reduced the heat generated reduces the air conditioning requirement resulting in further cost and power savings.

However, the technology will not be available to the market in the short term. HP has said elsewhere that it will be several years before this technology is on the market.

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