Putting a New Level of Intelligence into Power Supplies
Does Cisco buy or make its own power supplies?
We buy them, but we have our own requirements. Emerson is a big [hardware] supplier to us.
We're also looking to put the next level of intelligence in power supplies. Why do we need intelligence? This is extremely important when you want the ability to control and output information on the operational parameters of something. The key point is that this output can now go into energy management systems, building management systems and IT management systems.
They can then make value decisions on what you want to do.
Can you offer an example of intelligence in an energy management system?
Everyone knows about virtualization; we're all pretty astute in that now. Suppose your virtualized process wants to transmit a workload in the data center to another data center on a campus, or to another data center on the other side of the planet. We make the assumption about where that workload is going to be transferred-taking into account any additional resources that are needed-that the power and cooling [on the other end] is fine. That is a very dangerous assumption. Right now, it's not a problem because we transmit small requests.
If you convert the data to watts, you're looking at [general workloads] of anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 watts-about half a rack [of servers]. Those are small loads. But as virtualization becomes more powerful within the data center, you'll be finding larger amounts of data being requested, which will need larger amounts of power [to transport it].
So the ability to send [power control] information ahead to where the data will go-in order to pre-cool it and to validate that the power indeed is available to receive it-becomes extremely important.
Why are the workloads getting so much larger? Because of the sheer depth and amount of data, and newer, heavier files, such as high-definition video?
Yes on all of the above. It's being driven by all sorts of social networking activities. The amount of transference [over the Web] two years ago was a small fraction of what it is today. Two years from now, it will be many, many times larger.