Tag Archives: data center

More on Cloud Computing and Green ICT

In my previous post Cloud Computing and Green IT I’ve already referenced some interesting examples about the role of booming cloud services in getting an higher percentage of direct (total electricity use by data centers in 2010 of about 1.3% of all electricity use for the world, and 2% of all electricity use for the US according to this report by Analytics Press, author: Jonathan Koomey : “Growth in Data center electricity use 2005 to 2010”) and indirect (mobile devices, social networking) impact to GHG ICT emissions but also the opportunities of reducing both the cost and the environmental impact of internal, on premise, ICT by migrating services to the cloud. Since then I’ve added some comments to provide new interesting links, but everything is moving very quickly in the sky, since the cloud is the enabling technology for a radical change, driven by the power of social networking, globalization of services, the replacement of PC by mobile devices, the emerging role of the Internet of Things.

For example on Dec, 15th the: GreenPeace campaign for pushing Facebook to use clean energy has achieved a major milestone: Greenpeace and Facebook have announced that they will collaborate on the promotion of renewable energy, encourage major utilities to develop renewable energy generation, and develop programs that will enable Facebook users to save energy and engage their communities in clean energy decisions.

The campaign involved 700,000 online activists, which called on Facebook (setting a world record for the most comments on a single Facebook post in one day: 80,000) to power its data centers with clean energy instead of coal, leveraging social network to push changes. “This move sets an example for the industry to follow,” said Tzeporah Berman, Co-director of Greenpeace’s International Climate and Energy Program. “This shift to clean, safe energy choices will help fight global warming and ensure a stronger economy and healthier communities.”

Previously GreenPeace got Google to provide more with numbers on their annual energy use and their carbon footprint in the new section called “The Big Picture” of their Google Green site. Both Google and Facebook made also public statement about their choice to build new Data Centers for Cloud in locations where they can leverage the availability of renewable energy source and get almost free cooling:

· Google newest facility in Hamina, Finland, uses a unique seawater cooling system that requires very little electricity

· Facebook is to build its first data center outside the United States in the northern Swedish town of Lulea. It will be the northernmost of its size on Earth and will serve more than 800 million users. Lulea, because its cold climate would save energy for cooling, and it could use environmentally friendly (and low cost) hydro-power connected with a reliable grid.

IT will be interesting to see now how all the other companies involved in the GreenPeace campaign “Facebook: Unfriend Coal” based on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will react to the pressure from this NGO. Meanwhile GreenPeace keeps on updating the Guide to Greener Electronics, which has in the 6 years of its existence, now 17th edition, a scorecard for ranking 15 leading consumer electronics companies (mobile phone, TV and PC manufacturers) on policies and practices to reduce their impact on the climate, produce greener products, and make their operations more sustainable. It’s interesting to notice that HP is now “the top scoring company – strongest on sustainable operations and energy criteria but could improve on green products criteria”.

The greater opportunity for Cloud is not only to become more sustainable by itself, but in providing a more efficient and sustainable solution to customers. Jonathan Koomey is Consulting Professor at Stanford University and has researched and written extensively on electricity use by IT equipment. In a recent blog he gave four reasons why he thought cloud computing is (with few exceptions) significantly more energy efficient than using in-house data centres:

· It’s cheaper for large cloud computing providers to make efficiency improvements because they can spread the costs over a larger server base and can afford to be more focused on addressing energy use.

· With more users who are spread across different locations, computing loads are spread over the day, allowing for increased equipment utilisation. Cloud facilities for major vendors can be in the 30-40% utilization range, compared with 5-15% for in-house data centres.

· Cloud installations more often use virtualization and other techniques to separate the software from the physical servers, which allows for the greater optimisation of servers.

· Cloud computing sidesteps organizational issues, such as the problem of IT driving server purchases but facilities paying the electric bill. Cloud providers generally have one data centre budget and clear responsibilities assigned to one person.

Many other studies on this topic are being published: one of the most important is the study from CDP & Verdantix Cloud Computing – The IT Solution for the 21st Century help to understand that “large US companies that use cloud computing will be able to save $12.3bn in energy costs and 85.7 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually by 2020. The energy savings are enough to power 5.7 million cars for one year. ”

There are also new studies sponsored by ICT companies to prove benefits of moving to cloud, for example:

· The Google study on Gmail is an example of how cloud-based services can be much more energy efficient (up to 80 times) than locally hosted services, helping businesses cut their electricity bills.

· WSP Environment & Energy, that has already done the study for Microsoft and Accenture, published the March 2011 research study on saving provided by the cloud based CRM supporting the statement that A salesforce.com transaction is on average 95% more carbon efficient than when processed in an equivalent on-premises deployment (64% more carbon efficient versus a private cloud deployment). The following is an example of daily saving claimed by Salesforce on http://www.salesforce.com/company/sustainability/impact.jsp (a calculator “Measure your impact” is also provided to help customers in evaluating how they can reduce their carbon emissions by moving their business to the cloud).

Please, let me know if you find this topic valuable by providing me some feedback, I should have much more information to share, and a presentation on this topic (sorry it’s in Italian) that I did at the IT Director Forum 2011 (Executive Circle) by Richmond Italia that is available to members of “Acquisti&Sostenibilità” on the portal in the studies section
Donato Toppeta

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Data Center Sustainability

On DatacenterDynamics there are many interesting posts from The Datacenter Research Group

For example:

  • and PUE ratings: Shifts in efficiency and shifts in attitude

Datacenter Research Group

Obviously there are many other interesting ones, above all in this section related to energy efficency a core topic for sustainability:

Energy Stewardship

The Energy Stewardship Knowledge Bank is all about how to make your data center run more energy efficiently. Keywords: PUE, DCiE, DCP, EER Energy Efficiency Rating, sustainable, green, energy conservation

Cheers, Donato

New tools and documents on Green Data Center from Green Grid

I’ve realized that to keep this blog more interesting I must also report some news about the proposed topics, not only follow a structured approach.

For example the Green Grid, the IT industry’s leading voice for advancing energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems, on February  4th, 2010, at its Third Annual Green Grid Technical Forum and Members’ Meeting, announced new tools, that will be available by the end of the first quarter of 2010, and new White Papers and online Courses.

  • Power Efficiency Estimator designed to help data center operators compare different scenarios of power topologies and technologies inside of their facility. It takes factors such as workload, availability, and space constraints into consideration and generates a report that is designed to improve decision-making in a facility. The Power Efficiency Estimator will be available by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
  • New PUE Calculator allows data center operators to easily input their facility’s specific data at regular intervals to determine their PUE. Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), a metric created by The Green Grid, determines the amount of energy used by the facility and the IT gear inside of it. The PUE Calculator will be available by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
  • New White Paper: Impact of Virtualization on Data Center Physical Infrastructure that provides guidance on how data center professionals can maximize power and cooling equipment electricity savings in a data center environment that is using virtualization to achieve its consolidation strategies. The paper is available to members and non-members in the “Library & Tools” section of The Green Grid’s Web site. It helps understanding that virtualization is great in helping computing power usage reduction but since some power load are fixed (HVC, fans, etc.) a more comprehensive approach is needed to avoid that DCiE decreases.
  • New Online Course from The Green Grid Academy “Data Center 101: Constrained Capacity,” to help data center managers and operators get familiar with industry lexicon and solutions to everyday data center challenges.
  • New pact signed with the BCS which will see both bodies work closely on promoting data centre energy efficiency through a framework agreement to improve research effectiveness into tools, metrics and best practice.

Previously tools include European Free Cooling Tool to help data center and facilities managers easily determine how much free cooling and free evaporative cooling is available for individual data centers. Using country and city name, the tool allows users in Europe to input their specific variables – such as local energy costs, IT load, and facility load – to determine the energy savings for individual facilities.

It’s also very interesting this previous article: Green Grid launches guide to EU policies for data center operations on http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/ where I’ve noticed this table that highlights the most significant policies to affect organizations:

Policy Financial Operational Reputation
Revisions to Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) Significant (but uncertain) Low Low
Revisions to Energy Labelling Directive Moderate Moderate Moderate
Environmental certification Moderate Low Moderate
EC Code of Conduct Low Moderate Moderate
Feed-in tariffs Moderate Low Low
Tax reductions Low Low Low
Forthcoming CRC (carbon trading) Significant Significant Significant
Expansion of Eco-Design Directive Moderate Moderate Low
F Gas Directive Moderate Moderate Moderate
Increasing building codes Significant Moderate Moderate
Evolving planning policies Moderate Moderate Moderate
Voluntary monitoring & reporting initiatives Low Low Moderate

As a matter of fact the The Green Grid ‘Energy Policy Research for Data Centres’ report provides a summary of existing and forthcoming legislation, incentives and voluntary initiatives, along with practical steps for improvement and achievement.

This low res map provides an overview of free air cooling in EU (a solution that is getting a lot of interest) for other areas and high resolution go to: “Library & Tools” section of The Green Grid’s Web site