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Advanced Micro Devices and Hewlett-Packard are teaming with the state of New York and Clarkson University on a research project to figure how best to use renewable energy to power containerized data centers.

Specifically, the researchers want to determine not only whether the data centers such as HP’s PODS (Performance-Optimized Data Centers) can be run solely on wind or solar power, but also whether workloads can be automatically shifted between these energy resources without having to rely on a traditional electrical grid.

“The ultimate goal is to see if we can get 100 percent uptime using 100 percent renewable energy resources,” Steve Kester, AMD s director of government relations and regulatory affairs, said in an interview with eWEEK.

The $674,000 project, with funding from NYSERDA (N.Y. State Energy Research and Development Authority) and private sources, was announced Aug. 1. It was developed jointly by Clarkson and engineers with AMD’s Research Labs. The project is entering its first stage, a 12-to-18-month phase where Clarkson students will experiment with managing data through a distributed network that is powered by renewable energy.

The next phase of the project will bring hardware elements into the mix. That will include HP’s POD with systems running AMD’s Opteron server processors, which the chip maker said are designed for greater energy efficiency and cloud computing.

If the project works out, the end result will be highly flexible data centers that not only can powered by renewable energy, but can shift workloads between these energy sources as needed, according to Kester and Bryan Berry, project lead for NYSERDA. For example, if winds suddenly die down in one site in New York, then workloads can be automatically and reliably moved to another site in the state where winds are blowing, without incurring any service downtime and without having to rely on the traditional electrical grid.

“If the wind is blowing in Buffalo, but isn’t blowing in Albany, and we have wind-powered data center locations in Buffalo, we can shift the computational workload from Albany to Buffalo,” Berry said in an interview with eWEEK, adding that relying on wind and solar to this degree hasn t been done before. You have to be able to be a bit proactive, and you have to be able to respond to changes in the field.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: AMD, HP, Others Aim to Use Wind, Solar Power for Data Centers