Green data center
Much work in Green ICT is 'supply side': how to best implement an ever-expanding ICT infrastructure to meet an ever-expanding demand for ICT services. It's time to give attention to 'demand side' strategies which reduce the need for new ICT capacity in the first place. Here is what some enterprises are doing.
We had already noted the unnecessary demand placed on ICT infrastructure by document sharing via email. We advocate that organizations evolve to working on and sharing documents via web-based collaboration tools.
We're updating our 2010 look at Green ICT Earth Day activities with 2011 news.
Kansas City (MO, USA) carrier hotel 1102 GRAND announced that it had "recently implemented Kansas City Power & Light’s (KCP&L’s) Custom Rebate Retrofit Program and projects a Wattage reduction of 53 percent just in time for Earth Day 2011." 1102 Grand principal Darren Bonawitz emailed these lessons learned. "In our experience, it is always easier to cost justify implementing large scale infrastructure replacements with more eco-friendly options when expanding or replacing equipment at the end of its life cycle. Those projects do not happen every month or year even. In between, commercial companies can take advantage of programs to complete smaller projects that still provide incremental energy savings. A series of smaller projects are often easier to implement and the sum of their energy reduction can be just as significant as a single large scale retrofit."
This isn't really ICT-related, but we could not resist. The CIA's Earth Day press release leads with, "The Central Intelligence Agency’s practice of shredding and burning classified papers...is one of several ways the CIA conserves energy, reduces its impact on the environment, and lowers costs through its sustainability efforts. Exhaust from the Agency’s on-site incinerator generates steam to heat water at CIA Headquarters. In addition to saving fuel, that process reduces the amount of waste—which would otherwise be destined for landfills—by nearly 1,000 tons per year." Burn before showering.
ICT facilities of all kinds are increasingly looking to complement energy efficiency with sourcing renewable energy. We found ISPs already using renewables when we launched Veratique in 2007 and a couple of years later noted the first US television station to use wind power. Now we see diesel being replaced by renewables to power remote telecom facilities. Data centers are also part of the trend.
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ID-TELMIT 2012, billed as "Indonesia's Largest ICT & Media Convergence Conference & Expo", intends to cover how to "apply Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to other industrial fields such as Green Convergence, Smart Grid…" I see this as more evidence that the global ICT community is becoming increasingly focused on this opportunity.
"The PC and server power management software market is set to expand nearly fivefold from $168 million in 2010 to $783 million annually by 2015, "according to a report from Pike Research. "…PC power management software alone could be saving almost 47 MTCO2e of emissions by 2015, equivalent to taking nearly 8 million cars off the road…This is a particular boon for corporate IT departments, since servers use 60% of their maximum power while doing nothing at all.”
The Green Grid is a "consortium of information technology companies and professionals seeking to lower the overall consumption of power in data centers around the globe." The Green Grid has been a valuable resource in the effort to improve data center energy efficiency, but recent changes in management and mission still fall short of a comprehensive vision of sustainable ICT.
The Green Grid paper on data center power efficiency metrics covers two key measures of data center infrastructure efficiency: PUE and DCiE (formerly DCE). The basic notion is that the most efficient facility is one in which most of the power goes directly to power the IT equipment, rather than to cooling, etc. But there are complexities.
Successful Green ICT projects require effective stakeholder engagement before, during, and after each phase of a project. Rich Cotton, Director of Data Centers at Arnold and O'Sheridan consulting engineers, will be reinforcing this point at Datacenter World next week. Rich made some important points when I sat down to talk about this.
A lot has changed since we wrote three years ago: "Yahoo plans to go carbon neutral by the end of 2007. Part of this will be achieved through carbon offsets, including hydroelectric and sustainable agriculture projects in Brazil." Co-founder and Chief Yahoo David Filo now says, "Reducing our carbon footprint has always been a priority and we’ve decided to focus all our energy and investment on that philosophy. We will no longer purchase carbon offsets as announced in 2007. Instead, we’ll focus our resources on reducing our carbon impact while helping the rest of the industry do the same. We believe creating highly-efficient data centers will have a greater long-term, direct impact on the environment and gives us the best opportunity to play a leadership role in addressing climate change."
Another focus appears to be reducing the amount of water typically consumed by a data center. Here is Yahoo's report about its newest data center, the Lockport, NY "Chicken Coop":