Is your Architecture Green?

Given the current focus on global warming and everyone doing their little bit to help slow or even reverse global warming I have had a few discussions of late around Green Architectures. Considering an architecture with relation to its carbon footprint seemed to naturally focus on hardware decisions i.e. number of server, types (virtual or real) etc. Being a Solution Architecture this isn’t really something I can directly influence, the non-functional requirements allow the infrastructure architect to design the infrastructure to meet the requirements. As an infrastructure team they can consider environmental impact and choose designs accordingly.

Considerations at a solution level that seemed to influence the green-ness of a solution seemed to be big ticket items such as:

  • Decommissioning of old systems and therefore the hardware they were running on.
  • Reducing the amount of paper used in a business process through the use of technology.

As an architect these are usually an attribute of the scope of the problem so isn’t influenced by the process of designing a system. There had to be something that could make a design more green. Listening to an episode of Hanselminutes, Scott briefly mentioned a linux project that was profiling the power consumption of applications. After googling around I came across the project PowerTop which looks at what applications are doing. It has four basic goals:

  • Show how well your system is using the various hardware power-saving features
  • Show you the culprit software components that are preventing optimal usage of your hardware power savings
  • Help Linux developers test their application and achieve optimal behavior
  • Provide you with tuning suggestions to achieve low power consumption 

Now this seems like a good first step are we going to get to a point where applications and maybe architectures will have an energy rating.



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