Containers continue to get a lot of attention, andMicrosoft’s new Chicago data center project guarantees that containers will continue to headline the data center news. Mike Manos, Christian Belady, and Dan Costello of Microsoft recently co-authored a lengthyblogpost that will continue to drive discussion of modular data centers. I recommend you read the whole thing, along with the comments that have already been posted to get a flavor of Microsoft’s Generation 4 Modular Data Center plan. 


In this blog, the authors announce “Our “Gen 4” modular data centers will take the flexibility of containerized servers-like those in our Chicago data center-and apply it across the entire facility. So what do we mean by modular? Think of it like “building blocks”, where the data center will be composed of modular units of prefabricated mechanical, electrical, security components, etc., in addition to containerized servers.”


I’m not going to summarize the trio’s arguments; this entry deserves to be read in its entirety (watch the videos too). Still, their goal of 1.125 PUE by 2012 should attract everyone’s attention.


If you need to turn your attention closer to home,Emerson Network Powerhas developed a new data center efficiency calculator. What’s interesting is that this calculator is not based on PUE or DCiE or any of the other metrics we’ve been reading about. It’s not even based on Ken Brill’s CADE metric. Instead, Emerson is introducing CUPS, or Compute Units per Second, and the calculator in a white paper calledEnergy Logic: Calculating and Prioritizing Your Data Center IT Efficiency Actions. CUPS is a relative measure of server output, based on average server performance in 2002. Using data from multiple industry sources, Emerson Network Power calculated the change in CUPS between 2002 and 2007, providing a common server performance measure required to calculate efficiency. They made the calculator immediately available so that data center professionals can experiment with CUPS and prioritize their own projects. The an online data center efficiency calculator is available


Emerson says that CUPS research reveals that data center energy consumption has risen in recent years, accompanied by dramatic gains in data center output and efficiency. If data center output had remained flat between 2002 and 2007, the efficiency improvements achieved would have cut 2007 data center consumption to one-eighth the 2002 consumption.


If all this is just a little too theroretical for you, Emerson is also sharing its Top 10 Tactics to Get More from Your Data Center with Less Money:

1. Cover Your Bases.


2. Look Inside Before Outside. 


3. Assess Before Action


4. Go From Room to Rack. 


5. Cap the Cold Aisle. 


6. Check the Weather Forecast. 


7. Watch Often – If Not Always..


8. Improve Energy Utilization. 


9. Avoid Cutting Corners. 


10. Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.