Joulex Raises $17 Million To Cut Energy Costs, Consumption At Large Data Centers

JouleX– an Atlanta tech startup promising a way to cut energy consumption and reduce costs at large data centers by about half– closed a $17 million round of financing, the company announced today. Investors included: Sigma Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners and Intel Capital, along with earlier investors Target Partners and TechOperators.

The U.S. EPA has not updated national statistics about how much power data centers are using in the country, in years. However, in 2007 the agency estimated that in a year, the nation’s servers and data centers consumed about 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) or 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity, costing around $4.5 billion for electricity alone. The EPA at that time, predicted national energy consumption by servers and data centers would double by 2011 to more than 100 billion kWh, representing a $7.4 billion annual electricity cost.

A recent survey by The Uptime Institute found 36 percent of data center operators and owners believe they’ll run out of space to add the power and cooling systems they need in their facilities by the end of 2012.

It’s not really a surprise that IT infrastructure is pushed to the limit, and energy consumption by data centers is on the rise, now. In general, businesses are relying more heavily on IT for operations, telecommuting and the like, and consumers’ appetite for features that require greater bandwidth and storage capacity — like mobile video, real-time data access and personal data storage in the cloud— is on the rise.

According to the JouleX’s website, its JEM for Data Centers product:

“…Measur[es] dynamic energy consumption and utilization of any device attached to the network, and supports devices such as physical and virtual servers, core routers and switches, storage, power distribution units (PDUs) and others.”

Joulex faces competition from a variety of companies that want to cut energy cost and consumption in large data centers. Some of these — from Calxeda to VMWare — could be competing in the sense that they want a piece of a data center’s budget. However, they could just as likely turn out to be collaborators whose technology works with Joulex solutions. (Calxeda, formerly Smooth-Stone, shares some investors with Joulex.)

[Ed’s note: Edited the passage above at 11:55 ET after initial publication to reflect Joulex’s potential to collaborate with other players in this space, while competing for a piece of data center budgets.]