Samsung Pitches Green Memory for Datacenters

NEW YORK — Samsung today continued its bid to lower the total cost of ownership and power consumption in datacenters with its high density 32GB DDR3 RAM stick.

Memory is an often-overlooked element in power consumption. Every memory stick in a server draws power. Multiply several sticker by thousands of servers and you get tens of thousands of power-consuming memory modules.

Samsung is pitching that higher capacity memory modules means fewer per machine. “Compared to the 8GB memory modules used in today’s servers, our new module packs an eco-sensitive wallop with four times the density at significantly reduced power levels and no increase in the overall footprint,” said Jim Elliott, Samsung Semiconductor vice president of memory marketing, in a statement.

It’s part of his division’s drive to conserve energy in the datacenter.
“Datacenters will consume 3 percent of energy in the U.S. by 2011,” he warned the audience at the launch at the Samsung Experience show room here today.

Another technology that could improve datacenter efficiency is solid-state drives (SSDs). Building on Samsung’s green SSD pitch earlier this year,
Elliott said that these drives have a role in the datacenter.

He told that the same NAND flash technology used in iPhones can deliver drives that can last for 3 to 5 years, depending on the environment. With no moving parts, they generate minimal heat, vibration, and noise. Furthermore, SSDs never need defragmenting.

In a TCO use case, an unnamed Samsung OEM partner replaced a 72TB server cluster consisting of 240 HDD servers, each holding 300GB of storage and operating at 15,000 RPM. In its place, the company used eight 100GB SSDs; 136 HDD servers, each holding 300GB and operating at 15,000 RPM; and 24 servers each of which had a 1TB HDD and operated at 7,200 RPM.

The cluster that used SSDs was both cheaper to buy and used less energy, increasing its price advantage over time. Slowly, he said, SSD is catching on. “We’re seeing a two to three percent attach rate this year, and expect that to rise to at least 20 percent in the next three to five years,” he said.

Elliott explained that there’s a role in the datacenter for both SSDs and HDDs. “Hot data” that is accessed frequently resides on the SSDs while “cold data” that is accessed rarely resides on the HDDs, he said.

The channel

These technologies enable Samsung’s partners to build greener products.
David Critchley, Lenovo’s ThinkPad marketing manager, told attendees that SSDs reduce the power consumption of laptops by about 25 percent, and that other technologies add to the savings.

For example, ThinkPads can enable users to switch from using the discrete graphics to using the motherboard’s integrated graphics processors to save power.

He added that Lenovo’s Power Manager software can allow users to turn off other components, such as optical drives, and that in the future this software could be transported to the desktop.

“Home users or corporations could save over $70 per year in energy costs,” he said.

Further energy savings can be achieved in displays, according to Scott Birnbaum, Samsung vice president for LCDs. Although screens are getting bigger and brighter, a variety of technologies are helping conserve energy, he said.

Birnbaum concluded by showing off a vending machine that could be the bane of every office worker’s existence. Kraft’s Diji Touch has a 40-inch Samsung touch screen that can also display advertising, nutrition information, and even run promotions.

“We can deliver a marketing message during the vending experience,” said Mark Miller, Kraft director of marketing. “We could run games like a slot machine, allowing you to win a man-cation to Vegas or a second item equivalent to what you just bought.”

He added that the machine could offer that second item at a discount instead. “If you put in a dollar and the item cost $0.60, it could offer you a second one for $0.40.”

Miller said that the nefarious device will be tested in the Northeast in Q2, 2009 and will be generally available in 2010.

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