We here at Grist love computers, even if sometimes they don’t love us back. Every once in a while, a piece of technology comes out that you can’t help but get excited about (and I’m not talking about the iPhone).
The internet has physical houses in which information, services, and sites like this one are stored. These computers, known as servers, are the “always on” engines that power the constant activity. Due to the mission-critical nature of such machines, performance and reliability are of primary importance. Terms like “energy efficiency” and “ecological footprint” rarely find the ears of system administrators.
So it’s a pleasant surprise to stumble on a server that not only hosts websites and email, but is engineered from the ground up to have that minty fresh "green" stamp on it’s case.
British firm Zybert’s Z1 GEM server, which among other things is made completely out of recycled (and recyclable) parts, when “always on” runs at 45 watts and on 1 watt when idle. That’s about 25 times less than a modern toaster — 1146 watts — and almost half the the wattage of a typical light bulb.
Zybert was founded by retired physicist. It’s a new company, but already they are making waves, with their Z1 server being nominated for a Server of the Year by influential trade mag Network Computing.
Although the Z1 has yet to hit the shelves of American computer shops, I will be curious to see how this company and its products do from here. Perhaps a future Grist site will be rolled out on one of these babies — here’s to hope.