Intelligence Agency To Cut Data Center Power Usage

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will use Miserware software to wring power-efficiency out of data centers.
Analytics Slideshow: 2010 Data Center Operational Trends Report
Analytics Slideshow: Data Center Operational Trends Report
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The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a defense and intelligence agency that provides imagery, geospatial, and targeting analysis, is planning to use new software to help it more efficiently manage power in its data centers.

The NGA is using Miserware's Granola Enterprise software through an agreement between In-Q-Tel and the company. In-Q-Tel is a CIA-based non-profit organization that identifies emerging technologies to support the U.S. intelligence community, and then makes strategic investments in those technologies.

MiserWare's Granola Enterprise software allows agencies to reduce the environmental footprint of their data centers and track energy savings across the center's computers by automatically slowing down a processor when its workload is low, according to In-Q-Tel. Then when the workload requires, the software brings a system back up to its maximum speed.

In this way, servers are never wasting energy working at top processing speeds when that is required. By using the software, the NGA can save as much as 35% of total system energy without impacting a system's performance, according to In-Q-Tel.

The NGA first plans to deploy the software at its new headquarters in Springfield, Va., as well as in two data centers in St. Louis. As part of the strategic partnership, other intelligence agencies also will eventually deploy the software, as well as confer with Miserware how to expand its capabilities for their use, according to In-Q-Tel.

More efficient use of data center systems is a key goal of federal agencies, which currently are in the midst of a major data-center consolidation effort. This week federal officials said they were ahead of schedule on a plan to close more than 800 data centers by 2015.

Under-utilization of server resources traditionally has been a problem in federal data centers, federal officials have said, and improved power management can help alleviate this problem.

The CIA launched In-Q-Tel in 1999 as an independent entity to find useful new technologies to support the intelligence community's mission.

Other technologies In-Q-Tel has invested in in its more than 10 years of work include cloud computing, Web analytics risk-assessment, mobility, knowledge management, and collaboration.

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