December 18, 2006 by jimstogdill
Power to the edge
Nicholas Carr has been writing about the cost of power in the data center. This link talks about a utility that is beginning to offer rebates for cutting down the number of servers in the data center through virtualization.
Be sure to click through to his earlier, more explanatory post, here as well.
These discussions to date have generally focused on data center power consumption. However, in the DoD there is another issue and that is the need to power all of these inefficient devices when going mobile at the tactical edge.
We hear all the time that providing enough batteries is one of the toughest logistical challenges and that not one more piece of electrical gear can be loaded onto the already overwhelmed alternators of the typical Humvee.
Call me crazy but I wish Negroponte would manufacture a big batch of OLPC laptops in Olive Drab Green and sell them to the DoD for field use. The combination of long battery life, power saving screen, and the abilty to charge it in the field with some form of human mechanical device is pretty compelling. Built in wi-fi mesh networking and the reliability of no hard drive add to the appeal.
I know that would freak a lot of people out to suggest sellign OLPC laptops to the military; but it would get more units flowing faster (maybe) and soldiers using them to pound nails and all the other stuff soldiers do with their equipment would quickly shake out any latent reliability problems.