Growth5 Blog

Friday, September 11, 2009

Electricity Load Balancing

A study put together by researchers at MIT, Carnegie Mellon and networking company Akamai suggests that an Internet-routing algorithm tracking electricity price fluctuations could save companies with massive data centers (Google, Microsoft, Amazon) millions of dollars each year in energy costs.

The program assesses daily and hourly fluctuations in energy costs across the country. The resulting algorithm considers the physical distance needed to route information (it costs more to move data further) vs. the cost savings of having that data served in a location that has cheaper electricity.

Maybe the data would have normally been served in LA, but at any given moment it may be cheaper to have the data served from Seattle and have the LA server sit idle during peak electricity costs. Savings could be as high as 40 percent: $12 million savings annually for a company like Google. Pretty cool stuff.

I've been a fan of Akamai for a long time. I had the pleasure of working with them as a vendor when they were just starting out in the late 90's. If you're not familiar with Akamai, they handle hundreds of billions of web transactions every day. They have in essence built a faster highway for the web traffic they handle on top of the existing Internet. Ever wonder how the songs you download from iTunes come in faster than almost anything else you download? Those songs are traveling on the Akamai super highway.

As I read this article this morning, I was reminded that it was eight years ago today that Akamai lost their Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Danny Lewin. He was on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center in NY.

Lewin was a brilliant entrepreneur. Akamai has done a tremendous job of honoring Lewin and growing their business despite the tragic loss. From the Akamai site:
"Even as the years pass by, Danny's spirit and energy remains strong in all of us at Akamai. His vision continues to guide us as we carry on his commitment to Akamai's success."

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At September 29, 2009 at 4:50 PM , Blogger Blogking said...

If there's additional interest in load balancing take a look at the affordables offered by companies like KEMP Technologies or the large enterprise ones offered by companies like F5 networks.


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