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Sony Pictures Uses 'Green Power' For Data Center

Sony Pictures Entertainment is the first customer of data center operator 365 Main to sign up for a new reusable energy program.

While many companies are looking at server consolidation and virtualization as ways of reducing data center electricity consumption, Sony Pictures Entertainment is going green by using the sun, wind, and other reusable energy sources to power its data facilities.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is the first customer of data center operator 365 Main to sign up for a new reusable energy program that's being offered to clients of 365 Main's facility in Chandler, Ariz., via electrical utility company Salt River Project.

Through the Salt River Project's Earthwise Energy program, clients of 365 Main's data center in Chandler, like Sony Pictures, can sign up to power their computer center with "clean" energy sources, including sun, wind, the Earth's heat, flowing water, and decomposing trash from landfills.

"Sony Pictures is the first tenant that's thinking all the way upstream in sources of energy that can reduce its carbon footprint," said Miles Kelly, 365 Main's VP of marketing and strategy. The Chandler facility is the largest of 365 Main's five (soon to be six) data centers, he said. The San Francisco data center operator is hoping to offer reusable energy sources to clients of its other data centers whenever such programs are available by its other electricity providers, Kelly said.

"We hope this becomes a standard," he said.

For Sony Pictures, the move to reusable power sources at the data center reflects the company's comprehensive green initiatives, said Sony Pictures Entertainment senior VP and CIO Rick Hopfer. Those other green efforts range from a project to solar-power a studio to recycling tons of electronic waste to transitioning to the digital distribution of films, which reduces the production, distribution, and disposal of mass quantities of film stock.

On the IT side, Sony Pictures, a subsidiary of Sony Corp. of America, also has deployed more energy-efficient servers, desktop, and laptop computers, and is starting to evaluate other energy-saving moves, such as server consolidation and virtualization, Hopfer said.

Green computing "is good for business and the environment," he said.

The reusable energy sources to power the data center also will make an impressive dent in Sony Picture's carbon footprint, he said. Over three years, Sony Pictures expects the Earthwise Energy program to reduce the company's carbon footprint by 19,710 tons, or the equivalent of removing 3,240 cars from the road, Hopfer said.

The program also will translate to cost savings over the next three years, he said, although he declined to estimate how much. The Salt River Project's reusable power sources will be less expensive than the electricity used to power Sony Picture's California facilities, said Hopfer: "Power in California is expensive."

Compared with its electricity bill in California, Sony Pictures will see energy savings using the Salt River Project Earthwise Energy program for the Chandler data center, despite the 5% to 15% cost "premium" on reusable energy sources, versus traditional energy sources, said Kelly. As more U.S. utility companies tap into reusable energy sources, he said, the cost of that power should come down.

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