Green data center

DC Power Distribution for ICT

Most ICT gear - core facilities, communications infrastructures, and edge devices - runs on DC power. Converting AC to DC within a building is inefficient, on-site renewable power generation is often DC to begin with, and super-efficient LED lighting is also DC. All this seems to make DC power distribution an attractive option for ICT facilities, but there have been vigorous arguments for and against. Recent events, beginning a 380-V DC standard for ICT power distribution in 2011, suggest the tide is turning in favor of DC distribution.

Image courtesy IEEE Spectrum

Free Air, Hot Racks, and Cool Liquids

Handling our gear's heat has always been an issue for installations large and small. ICT equipment typical took 1x-2x again more energy to remove its heat as it took to power it in the first place (PUE of 2.0+), driving both energy costs and carbon footprints. Early efforts focused on the two obvious tactics: make both the ICT gear and the air conditioning more efficient. We now see these augmented by innovative new approaches to the problem, ranging from seawater cooling to variable-speed fan retrofits.

Will Liquid-Cooled Computers Make a Comeback?

Liquid cooling was once a staple of large-scale computing, but has largely been replaced by air cooling. We identified several efforts to bring liquid cooling to the server world in our first version of this post in 2012 and have seen continuous progress since. Here is the latest news.

Global Green ICT Update: Europe

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.

2016

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)."

More: FP7 Green ICT initiatives, ICT facility heat reuse.

The Importance of Location for Green Data Centers

Location is becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of ICT facilities. We've been tracking activities which try to leverage geographic features for greener operations. This article focuses on Europe and Asia. Another focuses on North America.

Who Offers ENERGY STAR Servers?

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.

Data Centers Reuse Waste Heat

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.

Average Power Use Per Server

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.

Is PUE Still Above 2.0 for Most Data Centers?

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.

Mega Data Centers

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.

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