Microsoft will make public its own energy-saving strategies in the hope that data centre administrators will be able to learn from them, Steve Ballmer has said.
Those tips will covers issues such as how to pick a good site for a data centre, how to deal with heat and manage power consumption, Ballmer said during a keynote presentation at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany.
The move is in response to growing concern over the release of carbon dioxide, one of the by products of burning fossil fuels to create electricity. In addition, power demands are ever-increasing, Ballmer said.
"If you look at non-travel power consumption in the world today ... information technology is one of the most rapidly growing power consumers on the planet," Ballmer said. "We think we have a real responsibility ... to reduce power consumption by the IT industry."
Ballmer said the company has for the last decade studied how to engineer its products to consume less power. He cited significant power use reductions in several products.
Windows Vista, the company's latest operating system, consumes 3 watts when running in idle mode, compared to 100 watts for Windows XP. In some configurations, Microsoft's Windows Server 2008, the company's next-generation server launched last week, uses 40 percent less power than Windows Server 2003, Ballmer said.
Microsoft also continues to develop its virtualisation technology, Ballmer said. Virtualisation software enables one piece of hardware to run multiple operating systems, which decreases the need for more physical servers.
To increase its ability to offer hosted applications, Microsoft has been building data centres around the world in places such as Quincy, Washington, where the company will have access to cheap hydroelectric power, and Dublin, Ballmer said.
But there's room to make hardware and software less power-hungry, Ballmer said. Emerging innovations could reduce power consumption in data centres by a factor of five, he said.
"We've tried to be a pioneer ... in our own data centres," Ballmer said. "These new data centres put us on a path to be among the most power efficient and ecologically sound data centres in the world."