Green data center
Updates from Europe. Click on "Europe" tag above for all news about the region. Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe.
A benefit of speaking at a conference, as I did last month as a GSICT keynoter, is learning from the other speakers. One presentation made me aware of Green ICT work underway through the Digital Agenda for Europe.
Task 4, last updated in April 2015 is described as a "50 partner cluster" spanning "6 FP7 Projects from the Call on Data Centres Sustainability: DC4Cities, RenewIT, Dolfin, GENiC, GEYSER & GreenDataNet, aiming to increase renewable energies use, heat reuse and the utilization of Smart Grids; 2 projects from a previous FP7 Call : All4Green, CoolEmAll; one H2020 project on public procurement of sustainable data centres (EURECA)."
Location is becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of ICT facilities. We've been tracking facilities in North American and Europe which try to leverage geographic features for greener operations. Our latest examples in the North America section of this post show how under-utilzed grid power is also making some locations attractive.
Twelve manufacturers offer ENERGY STAR® qualified servers, down from seventeen in 2013. Symantec and Unify are the latest to offer products. Energy consumption is only one criteria for choosing the greenest server, but there are no comprehensive ratings of green servers.
ICT facilities are becoming increasingly innovative in reusing their waste heat, a trend we first identified in 2009. This has been strongest in Europe, where many municipalities have district heating infrastructures into which facilities can transfer excess heat. Our latest example, from Switzerland, is just this sort of arrangement.
We have been tracking this topic the inception of Vertatique and it is consistently our most-Googled post. We just updated it to better present the material and add newer information.
A 2010 version of this post was titled "No One Can Agree on Typical PUE". I wrote, "As more data centers measure their PUE, managers ask what is typical? The industry does not seem to agree, so a wide range of numbers is out there." I updated the post in 2012 with the latest data, concluding that most data centers still appear to be operating above a PUE of 2.0."
I put the question to Vertatique's global Green ICT community in August 2013 via a tweet: "After years of #GreenICT, is there evidence that most #datacenters now operate below PUE 2.0?". This was one of our most-retweeted, but no one came forward with new evidence. Some replied in the emphatic negative.
Three years of very enlightening survey results from Digital Realty, including the 2014 data, confirm that the 2012 analysis. The only lower (better) average PUE came from Microsoft.
We've been tracking the growth in mega-datacenters since 2009. These faculties feature technical and operational innovation that has overturned previous notions of limits on energy efficiency. But does the focus on efficiency obscure an acceleration in ICT energy and water consumption and in CO2e production? While mega-data center operators are claiming exceptional power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratios, we're still talking about facilities that consume 20-200 MW apiece and emit a considerable carbon footprint unless powered by renewable energy. Here's our most look recent mega-datacenter issues, including new statistics that suggest the mega-datacenter boom will cause a decrease in the total number of facilities.
There is a rich global mix of advanced concepts and technologies emerging from research labs that may improve the future sustainability of ICT equipment and infrastructures. We regularly update this post with technologies of interest. (You can see all the technologies which hold the promise of greener ICT in the future by clicking the 'FutureTech' tag, above.) Our latest posts span research into biological agents that can recover gold from e-waste to multiferroic materials to reduce device waste heat.
Government entities have an important role to play in encouraging sustainable ICT across all industries. Effective leadership requires internal implementation, as well. The tag at the top of this post - government - helps you easily locate posts containing opportunities for and applications of Green ICT in government operations. (Green ICT in public education is found through the education tag.) Our latest update to this post is the disappointing news about New Zealand's decline in ICT sustainability in government.
Disk-based data storage, which can cost an organization $25/GB/month, offers Green ICT opportunities. We been tracking how people are reducing the impact of disk storage. This post looks at alternatives to disk storage for rarely used, event-driven data. This is known as Tier-3 storage and is particularly suited for 'offline' or 'cold' storage.