Data Centers and Energy Efficiency

New analysis suggests there’s still an opportunity to cut power consumption and save billions in 2014.

Source: www.greenbiz.com

>”A new tally by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) suggests there’s still a big opportunity to cut energy usage by 40 percent, saving more than $3.8 billion in 2014 alone.  Put another way, that’s like switching off 39 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, the equivalent of 14 large, coal-fired power plants.

“Most of the attention is focused on the highly visible hyperscale ‘cloud’ data centers like Google’s and Facebook’s, but they are already very efficient and represent less than 5 percent of U.S. data center electricity consumption,” said Pierre Delforge, NRDC’s director of high-tech energy efficiency. “Our small, medium, corporate and multi-tenant data centers are still squandering huge amounts of energy.”

Here’s the likely outcome: By 2020, U.S. data centers will probably require about 140 kilowatt-hours of electricity to keep online.

The biggest culprits in wasteful IT power consumption are underutilized servers using significant amounts of electricity without performing any useful purpose, according to NRDC.  […]

Figures suggest the average server operates at just 12 percent to 18 percent of its capacity, which means businesses could stand to be far more aggressive about consolidating or virtualizing them. That’s particularly true of the smallest server rooms, ones that crop up with little advance planning.

“The more work a server performs, the more energy-efficient it is—just as a bus uses much less gasoline per passenger when ferrying 50 people than when carrying just a handful,” the analysis notes.

Among the recommended fixes for this persistent problem are the adoption of metrics that provide deeper insight into average server utilization, more public disclosure of data center energy performance information, and “green” data center leases that provide incentives for energy savings.

The reason why these green data center service contracts work, according to the report, is because they create financial incentives for companies to consider their energy use. […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Proliferation of wireless devices and networks detrimental to environment

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Cloud computing should be driving sustainable development, but its turning us into energy consuming monsters, write Stuart Newstead and Howard Williams

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>There is a familiarity and comfort in our almost-everywhere connection to always-on communications networks and to the ever-increasing array of services they deliver us. We don’t just consume these network services directly, they give us what economists call “options” – options to connect, options to seek out new services, options to find new information. Clearly we don’t use this network services 24/7, but we value highly the options for instantaneous and simultaneous access at any time.

Cloud-based applications – those stored and managed by massive data centres run by the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook or Apple – are providing step changes in the financial and environmental efficiency of delivering these services. But the centralising power of the cloud has its corollary in the dispersing effect of wireless networks and devices.

In wireless networks and devices we see fragmentation, duplication and a fundamental shift from mains power and green sources of energy to battery powered always-on devices. In environmental terms here lies the rub. Rather than the “aggregation of marginal gains” (the Sir Dave Brailsford strategy that has propelled success in British cycling), in which lots of tiny improvements add up to a large visible improvement, we are witnessing the aggregation of environmental disadvantages from billions of low-powered but fundamentally energy-inefficient antennas and devices providing the ‘last metre’ connectivity to global networks.

Wireless networks and devices, technologies that should drive sustainable development, are turning into energy-consuming monsters.<

See on www.theguardian.com

Renewable Energy or Efficiency for the Data Center: Which first? #GreenComputing

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

New advancements in green technology and design are making the idea of a green data center into a reality.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Without doubt, the facility is a triumph of advanced environmental design and will serve as a template for future construction. Indeed, activity surrounding renewable-based data infrastructure is picking up, with much of it being led by the burgeoning renewable energy industry itself. VIESTE Energy, LCC, for example, has hired design firm Environmental Systems Design (ESD) to plan out a series of data centers across the U.S. that run on 100 percent renewable energy. A key component of the plan is a new biogas-fed generator capable of 8 to 15MW performance. The intent is to prove that renewables are fully capable of delivering reliable, cost-effective service to always-on data infrastructure.

The question of reliability has always weighed heavily on the renewables market, but initiatives like the VIESTE program could help counter those impressions in a very important way, by establishing a grid of distributed, green-energy data supply. In fact, this is the stated goal of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which has gathered together a number of industry leaders, including AMD, HP and GE, to establish a network of distributed, green data centers that can be used to shift loads, scale infrastructure up and down and in general make it easier for data users to maintain their reliance on renewable energy even if supply at one location is diminished. In other words, distributed architectures improve green reliability through redundancy just as they do for data infrastructure in general.

But not everyone on the environmental side is convinced that renewables are the best means of fostering data center efficiency. In a recent article in the journal Nature Climate Change, Stanford researcher Dr. Jonathan Koomey argues that without populating existing infrastructure with low-power hardware and data-power management technology first, data operators are simply wasting precious renewable resources that could be put to better use elsewhere. For projects like the NWSC and VIESTE, then, renewables may make sense because they power state-of-the-art green technology. But not as an industry-wide solution–renewables won’t make sense until hardware life cycles run their course.<

See on www.itbusinessedge.com

Green Computing – Business migration to Data Centers and the Cloud

>With the cloud computing scenario, time and power savings mean everything, in these huge scales, running hardly used servers is effectively throwing money away as well as annoying the environmentalists. In this scenario resource scheduling becomes amazingly effective. so we go back to our 5:30pm shutdown, but on this occassion the technology hosting the Virtual infrastructure kicks in, instead of sitting there half used, it will begin to migrate VM’s that no longer require resources to the same host, so although as a whole they may be using quite a lot of resource, it will enable hosts to be powered down and be sat in a ‘power saving’ state awaiting resources requirements to increase and as such power up from their slumber. Again, getting to the scale of this, you could effectively save power on as an example, 100 hosts – these hosts being the beefiest and most cutting edge servers available, are going to have requirements for a large amount of power, effectively turning these off when not used, is a god send to the idea of cloud computing. Why leave the light on in the attic if you have no intention of going there?

So that is effectively how these datacentres work from a green perspective, but from the company utilising this infrastructure, what do they save?

  • Downsize or offset office space.
  • Downsize onsite infrastructure requirements.
  • Expand the ability for users to work remotely (or globally dependent on your requirements)
  • Support the mobile workforce.
  • Reduce consumables use (printing, ink, paper, file storage costs).
  • Reduce hardware (desktop computers/server systems/UPS’s/cabling)


Green Computing – Office365 #greencomputing
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