At the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing today, Power Assure — a green IT business from Santa Clara, Calif. — revealed that its energy management software is now compatible with Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) Blade servers.
According to Jed Scaramella, a research manager for servers at IDC, here’s how fast blade servers, in general, are gaining traction in the market:
In 2010, the server blade market in the U.S. was $2.7 billion, representing approximately 14 percent of the U.S. server market… [IDC] expects the blade segment to grow 19.8 percent in 2011 to $3.2 billion in the U.S – compared to the total U.S. server growth of 2.4 percent.
On a worldwide level, the blade market is expected to grow 22.4 percent in revenue over the next year to $7.3 billion, which is relative to total server worldwide revenue growth of 3.5 percent.
Growth in blades is driven by customers’ need to deliver a more flexible IT infrastructure; blades can simplify management and create an agile environment that is better able to respond to the changing needs of a business.
By design, blade servers (including Cisco’s) are supposed to use less energy, and take up less space than their predecessors. Still, Power Assure — and competitors like SynapSense — have designed software to make them even less power-consuming, and hopefully more affordable and longer-lasting, for data center owners and operators.
According to a post on Cisco’s corporate website, in September 2010 the company’s chief financial officer Frank Calderoni said that the company was seeing 82 percent growth for its UCS product line on a quarter over quarter basis. (Neither IDC nor Cisco offered specific market share data on these servers in time for publication.)
In general, Power Assure — whose investors include Good Energies, Point Judith Capital and Draper Fisher Jurvetson — claims its solutions cut ongoing power consumption for IT organizations by an average of 50 percent.
Computers and data centers in the U.S., in recent years, have only used a few percentage points of all electricity consumed in the country, but that number is on the rise along with the cost of electricity generation from traditional power sources.
For more information, check out the reports over at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories Data Center Energy Management website which covers the economic and environmental benefits of efficient IT organizations.
What’s the News: Just as the real-world economy is crawling out of a recession, the virtual economy based around online games like World of Warcraft is booming to the tune of $3 billion per year. This money is actually making a measurable economic impact in developing countries, providing up to 100,000 jobs in China and Vietnam. According to Tim Kelly, the Lead ICT Policy Specialist of infoDev, a technology development finance program of the World Bank and IFC, “This could significantly boost local economies and support further development of digital infrastructure in regions such as Africa and southeast Asia.”
What’s the Context:
- In games like World of Warcraft (massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs), players accomplish goals and gather new gear to become more powerful. Some players in wealthy countries who have limited time to spend slaying dragons and earning gear themselves are willing to pay for virtual items with real cash.
- There are many ways of earning money in the virtual gaming world, but about 75% of that $3 billion market comes from “gold farming,” wherein wage-earning players collect virtual goods that are later sold. Another major money-earner is â€œpowerleveling,â€ in a customer hires another person to spend time playing the game with the customer’s characters and making them more powerful.
- Nearly 25% of all virtual game players spend real money to acquire virtual items, with some forking over thousands of dollars on a single account.
- These “gold farmers” aren’t just solitary guys in front of a computer; many actually work for large Chinese suppliers: The largest eight virtual-supplying companies have a yearly turnover of $10 million each, and there’s upwards of 60 firms with $1 million revenues.
- “Hand made” virtual currency only accounts for about 30% of the virtual economy: About 50% of the currency is generated by automated game-playing computers and 20% comes from hackers who steal goods and then sell them.
Not So Fast:
- The wages of the average Chinese online gamer is near or below Beijingâ€™s minimum wage of $1.70 an hour.
- Game studios want to squash the virtual economy because they think it undermines the game by creating “an unfair environment where legitimate game play … loses value and is represented inaccurately.” According to the report, wealthy players can now monopolize games, “making it hard for ordinary players to get their hands on the most valuable resources.” (There’s also the little fact that other companies are making a profit off the game-makers’ product.)
The Future Holds: The researchers expect the Virtual Economy to grow even more in the coming years, as digital infrastructure expands in the developing world and more companies get involved in connecting poorer residents with wealthy Western buyers.
Reference: Lehdonvirta, V. and Mirko Ernkvist. Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy. World Bank Group. http://www.infodev.org/publications.
Image: Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy
A quick little experiment for you if you haven’t tried this before: Go to Google Maps and ask it for directions from San Francisco, CA to Beijing, China. Now, you wouldn’t imagine any other way than to hop on a plane, right? Instead, Google figures you’d like to drive, takes you to the beach and then, somewhere around step 32, advises you to make the 3,879 kayak trip across the Pacific Ocean. While the cross-Pacific directions are a perennial joke, they’re literally useless for travelers.
Rome2Rio, a site built on top of the much-loved Google maps interface, offers up directions by plane, train and automobile rather than telling you to hoof it to the beach and get to paddling.
Using the site is as simple as putting in a starting and ending point and clicking a button. From there, it will offer a medley of directions to get you from point A to B. It currently has flights from more than 670 airlines, trains in Europe, China and India and driving directions and ferries around the world.
The site is launching today and, while it offers a number of flights for each trip, it doesn’t appear to have a simple on-site booking functionality, which is a bit of a shame. Nonetheless, it quickly nails down the basic part of directions, letting you handle the rest from there. At least it isn’t telling you to take a kayak, right?
The most useful place for Rome2Rio, it would seem, will be where it has train schedules in addition to planes. Knowing the alternatives is always great when traveling and trains can be a great (and sometimes cheaper) alternative to zipping over the landmass in between two spots.
Founders Michael Cameron and Bernie Tschirren explain the site a bit more in the following video and Cameron told us that Amtrak and Greyhound itineraries are in the plans for the future. If you have itchy feet like me, I’d bookmark this site and keep it in mind for future travels.
The Zynga talent acquisition machine rolls on today, as the social gaming giant buys yet another gaming team. Today, Zynga is announcing the acquisition of the team from MarketZero, who is behind the largest online portal tracking career statistics of online poker players, PokerTableRatings. It’s important to note that Zynga is hiring the team behind MarketZero, but will not operating or acquiring MarketZero’s existing business.
MarketZero’s founders include Gustavo Abdala, Amir Elaguizy, Nir Leibovich, Timothy Sullivan and Jason Wang. We hear the team will work for Zynga Poker and will help develop new and innovative features within the game.
It should be interesting to see if the new team will add some of the interactive features that were developed through MarketZero’s platform. For example, PokerTableRatings’ tools help poker players maximize their online profits through a real time Table Selector, Player Research Tool, a Buddy List with Email Alerts, and other reports. We’re told that PokerTableRatings.com will continue to be owned and operated by a separate entity and all of the user accounts on PokerTableRatings.com will be unaffected by the acquisition.
Flush with cash, Zynga has been averaging about one acquisition per month over the past eleven months. Past acquisitions include mobile game development studio Floodgate, social browser Flock, New York’s Area/Code, Texas-based NewToy, XPD in Beijing, Unoh Games in Tokyo, Conduit Labs in Boston, Dextrose AG in Frankfurt, Germany,Challenge Games in Austin, and Bonfire Studios in Texas.
And yesterday, Zynga added Dreamworks Animation Chief Jeffrey Katzenberg to its board.
Ai Weiwei was arrested yesterday at the Beijing Airport on his way to Hong Kong, the New Yorker reported. Ai, China’s best known artist and a global art star and designer of the Beijing Olympics stadium, the Bird’s Nest, had plans to possibly leave China to live in Germany, where he had set up a studio, according to Deutsche Welle.
We cover threats to free speech here, especially when those threats intersects the Web. Sometimes we know the people involved, as is the case with Ai. Our founder, Richard MacManus, took part in an historic conversation a year ago in New York with Ai.
One of his assistants posted this on Ai’s Tumblr account.
April 3, 2011. Ai Weiwei was detained by two customs officers while crossing customs in Beijing Capital Airport. Just separated Ai Weiwei and his assistant. By the two customs officers taken to a separate location. Ai Weiwei’s phone has been shut off, and he’s already been out of contact for 50 minutes. The situation is unclear. Please everyone pay attention. (Note: This is an assistant tweeting.)
Continued news on his detainment can be found there and on Ai’s Twitter account.
According to the Washington Post, the police “also blocked off the streets to his studio and raided it, carting away laptops and the hard drive from the main computer…eight staff members and Ai’s wife, Lu Qing, were taken to the local police station for questioning.”
Although Ai had increased China’s reputation in the world of art, he had yet to receive permission to stage a solo show in his home country. His February show was canceled due to political pressure and the Shanghai studio he built was demolished by order of the Chinese government.
Ai’s arrest is not an isolated incident, nor, probably, just the workaday oppression of artists in China; it is instead part of a renewed crackdown, against an anticipated infection of freedom from the Mideast’s Jasmine Revolutions. of Keith Richburg of the Washington Post theorizes that this is an attempt to further lower the level of expression in the country.
TechCrunch Disrupt is back and in a big way. The conference we launched last year in New York and San Francisco and is coming back this year and this time we are going global by adding another destination – Beijing. All three conferences will be packed with the best new startups, all-star speakers, free WiFi, and after parties. The first Disrupt will take place in New York City on May 23rd to 25th, right after our Hackathon on May 21st to 22nd where developers come together to create a product in 24 hours.
Like we’ve said before, anything can happen at these events. During Disrupt last year, we launched two dozen startups (the winner was international startup, Soluto), Charlie Rose kicked off the event by interviewing legendary VC John Doerr, Carol Bartz told Michael Arrington to *ahem*, and we even had a real company emerge from our Hackathon, GroupMe, which later went on to raise $10.6 million. You can read about co-founder Jared Hecht’s experience at Disrupt here.
If you are building a company or a product that you feel is going to make a huge impact and change the world, we want you to apply. There are no fees to apply or compete, and startups from around the globe are welcome to submit their company or product for consideration. But the deadline for submissions is looming. We will be accepting submissions through Sunday, April 3, 2011 at midnight PST. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please submit your application HERE on our Disrupt application site powered by Producteev.
Nowhere else will you find the talent, drive, or passion that we gather at Disrupt. The relationships people make, the feedback each team receives, and most importantly the recognition and attention each team gets is something you will not find at any other event.
Tickets to Disrupt are also on sale now. You can get the best rates here. We will also be doing some ticket giveaways as well coming up with ways to give everyone a chance at getting a ticket. So keep your eye out for those announcements soon.
photo © 2010 Cory M. Grenier | more info (via: Wylio)After weeks of Gmail issues in China, Google has confirmed today that the problems stem from Chinese government’s interference. The search engine gave this statement to us and other media outlets, “There is no technical issue on our side; we have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”
Gmail users in China are reporting having no trouble logging into the service, but are experiencing issues sending and receiving messages as well as performing routine actions. The problems are also erratically distributed amongst users, so one user sitting in a cafe could be having issues with the Gmail while a user next to him could be just fine.
Google recently blogged about “politically motivated” attacks against users, but made no mention as to who the target was or where the attacks were coming from.
“We’ve noticed some highly targeted and apparently politically motivated attacks against our users. We believe activists may have been a specific target. We’ve also seen attacks against users of another popular social site.”
Today’s confirmation is not the first time Google and the Chinese government have butted heads over Gmail: the two have had a much storied history, as Google.cn used to provide censored results per Beijing’s request. Google.cn was then redirected to the non-censored Google.com.hk last March, after Google discovered that attacks on human rights activists’ Gmail accounts had originated in China.
MIC Gadget can’t get a break. After being C&Ded for selling Steve Jobs action figures, now they can’t even sell these goofy little “Poke” figures of Mark Zuckerberg.
The figures went for $69 bucks – a bit much for a statuette of some rich dude – but they were obviously all in fun and I doubt that Facebook is planning a huge executive action figure push this Christmas. However, MIC is now no longer allowed to sell the figures and even received a C&D from a Beijing law firm:
“(1) immediately stopping manufacturing and sales of any products infringing the legitimate rights of Mr. Mark Zuckerberg and FACEBOOK, including but not limited to the Action Figures, any accessory containing FACEBOOK’s trademarks; (2) immediately destroying all remaining products infringing legitimate rights of Mr. Mark Zuckerberg and FACEBOOK; (3) immediately disclosing the accounting of your sales of the Mark Zuckerberg Action Figures and any other infringing products; (4) immediately remove all depictions or listings for the Mark Zuckerberg Action Figures from your website.”
If you thought you could still grab one, you’re out of luck. MIC’s lawyers made them say “The figurine is discontinued, and will not appear on Earth anymore.” They did not, however, mention potential moves to outer space.
While countries as disparate as Armenia and Mauritania react to the reality of change in Tunisia and Egypt, China continues its crackdown. After blocking terms like “jasmine” (for the Jasmine Uprising) and even country names like “Egypt” from online searches, it began a campaign of arrests and harassment of protesters, and possible future protesters, in its major cities.
Now, in a material indication of its priorities, China has released its budget expenditures at the start of its new parliamentary session. For the first time, the country’s spending on internal security, including online censorship program and tools, has passed the yearly budget for the army and all other defense organization.
According to Reuters, this year’s budget on domestic security, which includes “state security, armed civil militia, courts and jails” jumped 13.8 percent to $95 billion.
The budget for China’s army, on the other hand, increased only 12.7 percent to $91.5 billion.
The power of the Jasmine Uprising in the Middle East as an example to people around the world seeking change could probably not find a better indicator than this shift in priorities for a county which is widely acknowledged as the world champion in the repression of internal dissent.
As the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Beijing Daily put it:
“Everyone knows that stability is a blessing and chaos is a calamity.”
Don’t they just.
Army photo by Schmeeve