Memory A Factor in Data Center Power Challenge

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As the data center industry grapples with growing power usage and heat loads generated by high-density blade servers, there’s been a lot of focus on coming up with more energy-efficient processors. That’s not the only hardware issue, however, as power usage by memory is also an important component of the power/cooling challenge.

As is the case with processors, vendors are busy developing low-power memory products. Qimonda AG, a newly-formed subsidiary of Infineon Technologies, has a press release today noting tests indicating that the company’s low-power DRAM may save thousands of dollars in the annual energy costs of data centers. The study, conducted with Sun Microsystems, showed up to a 30% reduction in memory power consumption when combining Qimonda’s DDR2 Dual In-line Memory Modules with the Sun Fire T2000 server.


Qimonda’s data was initially presented at a conference hosted by Sun Microsystems earlier this year, which also featured industry forecasts that by 2008 computer memory subsystems will represent up to one-half of the power used in computer servers. Reduction in power saves energy costs in two ways, directly by reducing the energy used by the server and indirectly by reducing heat that must be managed by cooling systems.

“The challenge of managing the energy budget of data centers must be addressed across the entire system design, and Qimonda is making a significant contribution by proving that its DIMMs deliver energy savings.”said Kurt Doelling, Vice President for Worldwide Operations of Sun Microsystems

Qumonda was recently selected by Microsoft to provide graphics RAM for the Xbox 360 video game console, which has experienced some overheating problems in early shipments.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.