Oracle Joins Intel, Google, Microsoft As Climate Savers


In a morning keynote at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, Otellini took a quick break from extolling the virtues of Intel's new 45nm Penryn-class processors to welcome the database giant into the Climate Savers fold. Members of the initiative now include Intel, Oracle, Google, Microsoft, EDS, HP, IBM, Dell and Lenovo, as well as PG&E, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Wildlife Fund.

Members of Climate Savers have pledged to a 50 percent reduction of power consumption by computers by 2010. According to the initiative, participating companies could collectively save $5.5 billion in energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions by 54 million tons a year when they hit their 2010 targets.

Otellini took keynote attendees on a quick tour of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant's latest and greatest microprocessors, known as the Penryn family of chips. Intel on Monday officially launched 15 new quad-core Xeon server processors, codenamed Harpertown, and one high-performance desktop chip, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650, built with the chipmaker's groundbreaking 45nm process.

"We are the innovation leader in the industry," said Otellini, not lacking in confidence as he prefaced his Penryn remarks. "With this new process, we think we have a two-year lead on the rest of the industry."

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Because it was Oracle's tent, Otellini naturally selected an Oracle application to demo the performance boost of the new Penryn chips over their 65nm cousins. The upshot: Running Oracle's Order Book Calculation Engine, a stock exchange number-cruncher, on a rack of six standard-architecture servers built on 45nm quad-core Xeon 5400-series chips gives you some 8 million calculations/second versus about 3 million on an equivalent rack based on the old 65nm quad-core Xeon 5300-series CPUs. And with just three of the Harpertown servers running against all six of the older Woodcrests, the Harpertowns still outperformed their counterparts by 30 percent while consuming less power and giving off less heat.

Energy efficiency was a theme Otellini returned to several times. While discussing 15 years of flat IT spending against record performance increase -- all "driven by Moore's law," naturally -- he warned that the accompanying "cost of power and cooling is rising too much."

"So focusing on energy efficiency has become 'Job One' in data centers. Consider that data center power consumption doubled from 2000 to 2006. Data center power consumption represents 1.5 percent of total U.S. power consumption," he said.

But getting more performance out of less processor can be a bit of a double-edged sword when your company is in the business of selling chips. That balancing act was best illustrated when Oracle Executive Vice President of Customer Services Juergen Rottler took the stage with Otellini to announce that the Oracle On Demand business had driven down its overall server count by 70 percent thanks in part to Intel technology.

Otellini's reply: "When you talk about reducing servers by 70 percent, it's clearly good for your business. But I can't help but think about what it does for mine."