The enterprise server that draws less power than a tiny lightbulb

SoftIron will shortly be unveiling a range of servers that deliver robust enterprise computing performance for less than 10 watts per device fully loaded. That’s way less than the rest consume on standby.

Information technology contributes massively to modern life, making many areas more efficient. But at its heart there’s a contradiction: the servers that power so much of our digital lives are hugely inefficient. Considering the conversion of energy input into results, it’s no exaggeration to say that a server is a heater that produces computation as a side effect.

IT consumes 2-3% of global electricity and is responsible for around 2% of greenhouse gasses. Growing reliance on technology is causing these numbers to trend upwards. Global consumption of electricity by datacenters rose by 63% from 2011 to 2012, and Cisco predicts that datacenter traffic will grow by four times by 2016.

Setting aside the impact of inefficient IT on the planet, the immediate impact on businesses, whether small, medium, large or global, is that a substantial amount of operating expenditure is being wasted creating unwanted heat. As if that were not bad enough, the same amount of energy then has to be expended on cooling equipment to dissipate the heat that wasn’t wanted in the first place.

SoftIron has radically re-thought the technology basis of enterprise computing, challenging the assumption that massive waste is unavoidable. Using the latest methods and technologies, and incorporating a substantial body of unique and proprietary innovation, SoftIron has developed a range of enterprise computing products that both run and idle with order of magnitude greater efficiency than current best-of-breed competitors.

This kind of radical energy saving is substantially greater than the savings of low energy lightbulbs over conventional bulbs. We believe it will forever change the economics of ┬ácomputing.┬áThe Energy Star organisation observes that “Standard computer servers can consume between 1,200-8,600 kWh annually.” SoftIron makes servers that consume less than 100 kWh annually. These savings fall straight to the bottom line.

Up to now, the total cost of ownership of a server has been measured in multiples of the original capital cost of the equipment. With SoftIron servers, the purchase cost (which is comparable to more inefficient competitor models) is most of the total cost of ownership. In fact, we expect the annual energy costs of some of our enterprise servers to be less than $10.00 (assuming an average US electricity price).