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Recovery Act Award Winner Improves Data Center Efficiency, Creates Jobs with High Efficiency Server

June 16, 2010

A Silicon Valley company effectively used Recovery Act funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) to expedite development of a low-power server technology that can radically improve energy efficiency in the nation’s data centers.

On June 14, SeaMicro® launched this Internet-optimized server that reduces server power and space requirements by as much as 75%. This re-think of the traditional “volume server” corrects the mismatch between historical workloads, characterized by a few very hard problems, and today’s Internet workload, which is dominated by millions of comparatively easy tasks, such as e-mail checking,  social networking, and surfing the web. By specifically targeting Internet usage, SeaMicro’s® new servers dramatically reduce power draw and footprint.

Through ITP’s Energy Efficient Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Recovery Act solicitation process, SeaMicro® was awarded $9.3 million to help accelerate the availability of this innovative, energy-saving server. The new server is based on a systems architecture pioneered by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which uses hundreds of ultra-low-energy, cell phone chips to replace the sophisticated yet power-hungry chips found in today’s conventional servers. The ITP award helped accelerate the production schedule for the new server by at least 12 months and generated more than 20 full-time jobs at the company.

According to SeaMicro®, the new server will use 25% of the power and use only 25% of the space to do the same work as the current “best-in-class” volume server—without requiring modifications to the existing software. SeaMicro® estimates that volume servers now consume more than 1% of all electricity used in the United States, costing users more than 3 billion dollars each year. Volume servers represent more than 80% of all servers used today.

SeaMicro® and the 13 other organizations supported by ITP's Recovery Act funding in this field were inspired by the ICT industry's vision and roadmap, Routing Telecom and Data Centers Toward Efficient Energy Use. For more information, please visit: www.eere.energy.gov/industry/newsandevents/news_detail.html?news_id=12528.