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Pumping DC power to the data center

Start-up Validus DC Systems gets $10 million in funding for direct current power supply systems.

Thomas Edison had it right, say the founders of start-up Validus DC Systems. Direct current is the way.

on Tuesday announced that it has raised $10 million from Oak Hill Venture Partners to further develop its data center power supplies that use direct current (DC) to lower power consumption. Products are expected to be released in late January next year.

By using direct current, rather than drawing electricity from outlets that supply alternating current, data center managers can reduce their energy consumption by up to 40 percent, according to the company.

There is a growing awareness of the cost and waste associated with electricity in data centers. Companies are also struggling to get enough electricity to power their gear.

Often, data centers use the alternating current that comes off the electricity grid. Instead, most companies are using virtualization or are buying more efficient cooling units, according to a recent survey done by data center automation company Cassat.

But DC power has its advocates.

Validus has developed technology that takes alternating current provided by utilities and converts it to direct current. After the power is converted, it is distributed to servers designed to run on DC power.

The company has partnered with Rackable Systems, which has developed a line of energy-efficient servers and storage units that include a DC power option, according the company's Web site.

The technology development at Validus DC Systems was led by company CEO and founder Rudy Kraus and Marcel Gaudreau, a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Despite many claims of "green IT," most corporations are not taking aggressive measures to reduce their power consumption, according to surveys and experts.

A Forrester Research study published on Monday found that although 38 percent of buyers take energy efficiency into consideration when buying computing gear, not many of the 130 companies surveyed have a comprehensive plan in place.

Only 15 percent said they have a green IT plan, while 25 percent are in the process of making one and 39 percent are considering it.