Recently in Data centres Category

Green Google: 'our Cloud does more with less'

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Google has just launched a Web page detailing its annual energy use and carbon footprint impact. 

It argues that to provide a user with Google products for a month--not just search, but Google+, Gmail, YouTube and everything else it offers - its servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours. And, because it says that it's been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, "even that small amount of energy is offset completely, so the carbon footprint of your life on Google is zero."

There are more details here  

It has also produced a study about powering email using the Cloud

GE goes Platinum with pioneering green data centre

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There has been much coverage of GE's unveiling in the US of a new pioneering "green" data centre, built on the original site where the world's first commercial computer was deployed in 1954.

The new data centre, developed by GE's IT department is based at GE Appliances & Lighting in Louisville, Kentucky.


The data centre is one of the world's first to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification, a rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council for projects that go above and beyond standard building codes to create sustainable, energy-efficient buildings.


To get the Platinum rating, GE ensured the data centre hit a few targets:


  • 98.3% of the walls, floors, and roof were existing space that didn't require new construction
  • The data centre is 34% more energy-efficient than a comparable code-compliant building
  • It reduces by 50% the amount of space used by the previous data centre by using high-density servers
  • Water consumption inside the building is being reduced by 42% of the industry baseline by using ultra low-flow fixtures
  • 50.7% of construction materials were sourced regionally
  • 30.2% of the building materials were recyclable materials
  • 85.4% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill (mostly through recycling)

Sustainability: driving innovation and growth in IT, telecoms and cleantech

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This blog by Steve Goldstein of Growth Advisors on discusses how companies in a range of industries, including the IT indstry, are using sustainability and innovation as a springboard to growth.

Goldstein makes the point that although in the communications and high-tech industry, "much has been written about how software will play an important role in monitoring environmental performance - an estimated $12 billion market this year with some of the world's and industry's leading companies like IBM, HP and SAP actively competing for it.. sustainability is playing a much larger, even pivotal role in remaking the competitive fundamentals, business models, and direction and growth of the industry itself."

He cites three sectors where an industry-wide growth opportunity is being provided by sustainability.

• High-tech equipment and services - "Cloud computing is fundamentally shifting the way enterprises use communications and high-tech products and services. Enterprises are embracing "the cloud" to reduce capital and operating expenditures. Of course, one of the biggest operating expenditures in a data centre is the cost of energy. The use of virtualisation software (central to the operating effectiveness of servers in data centers) from the leading provider (VMware) saves more power than the amount of electricity used annually for heating, ventilation and air conditioning across all of New England. Further, the energy efficiency of computing and network equipment has improved by 70 percent to 90 percent in recent years. "Cloud" is the competitive game changer and a big growth opportunity that every major player in this industry is working on and sustainability is a fundamental reason for its emergence."

• Telecom services - "For major telcos and other players in the communications business, the focus on sustainability is reviving established services like video conferencing, fleet telematics, and telecommuting that date back a few energy crises. It is also putting communications companies in position to compete for business in the rapidly growing markets for cloud, hosting and vertical solutions like e-health against IT providers. New and potentially very large markets for smart buildings, smart grids, remote monitoring, and electric vehicle charging are also in the sights of many companies in this space. Leading telco services providers are beginning to put sustainability at the centre of their product strategies and are looking to address the competitive and regulatory pressures customers are feeling around the sustainability issue. They are in a unique position to provide a broad and integrated set of solutions to the range of an enterprise's sustainability needs."

• Cleantech
- "Clearly a new and rapidly emerging, yet already large space ($188 billion market value in 2010, according to Clean Edge), more money is going into cleantech than any other communications or high-tech segment. Billions are being invested by venture funds, Internet players like Google and long established tech giants including Intel. Why? Solar, water, wind, power, electric vehicles and other cleantech products are highly dependent on information technology and communications in both their operation and distribution and represent the most significant growth and value creation opportunities in this industry for the foreseeable future."


Getting to grips with CRC's deadlines and the scheme's next steps

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I recently received an email flyer for the Carbon Show later this year warning me that if my organisation is registered within the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme I will know the deadline for returning my'Footprint Report' and 'Annual Report' is today, Friday 29 July.

The flyer asked: Will you meet the deadline? How easy have you found it to produce your organisation's carbon footprint? How confident are you that your figures are accurate? Do you know the penalties for late submission?

I think for CRC, organisations will get used to be able to answer these questions, meet the requisite deadlines and build them into their working practices as time goes by. Although there has been much discussion about the future of CRC, there is little doubt that it is here to stay. We are at the end of the beginning, if you know what I mean.

If you're still wondering where CRC will end up, some good sources of information are this Next Steps document, which outlines the current CRC state of play and gives extensive details of the recent consultation and future proposals, and the Cambium website which discusses the impact for both CRC's participants and for suppliers of energy efficiency services.

By the way, with energy efficiency in mind, there is an article here on modular data centres


Should CIOs be rebilling themselves as the Chief Efficiency Officer?

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The CIO should be re-billing themselves as the organisation's Chief Efficiency Officer, according to this take on Ovum's recent report on Green IT Deployments across Key Global Markets which I referred to recently.

The IE blog suggests that an efficiency audit - the practice of looking back at what you have and making more effective use of it - is the first step to realising significant IT savings. It adds that "with the traditional role of the CIO constantly evolving, CIOs should seek out opportunities to  drive and execute savings such as reducing costs related to unused hardware, software, excess energy use and time. An efficiency audit will not only reduce a company's carbon footprint, but also deliver significant cost savings."

I suspect for most CIOs this is preaching to the converted, though I like the idea of the Chief Efficiency Officer, in terms of actions and deeds, rather than titles. I think there have probably been enough nominAL recasts of the CIO role over the years. But, in the current climate efficiency is good.

By the way, IE is one of  the function sponsors of Green Monday, which next Monday will consider Sustainability in the Supply Chain. Other backers include SAP, Ernst&Young, British Gas, PE International and CarbonClear. The group sets out to offer strategic insight for corporate sustainability leaders.


Rising to the sustainability challenge

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EHS Journal, which provides specialist coverage of environmental, health and safety issues, is carrying an interesting article by IT professional Maureen O'Donnell on Green IT, sustainability and cost savings.

O'Donnell says that in November 2006, Gartner Group released a study that shocked the industry. Gartner predicted that by 2008, half of the world's data centres would have insufficient power and cooling capacity to meet demand.

The result of the progress made in the first few years after Gartner's study was that by 2010, the IT industry as a whole realised more than $2bn a year in energy savings. At the same time, an entirely new industry emerged around the development of energy-efficient solutions that allow companies to increasingly fine-tune and optimise their IT environments.  Over the past five years, IT has aggressively reduced energy consumption and become more sustainable in the process.  It's debatable whether IT will ever be as green as it aspires to be, but says O'Donnell, Gartner's 2006 prediction turned out to be false, thanks to an industry that rose to the challenge.

You can read the piece here




New skills needed to deliver Green IT, says BCS

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The BCS suggests that IT professionals need to gain new skills to ensure IT can deliver solutions that businesses need to reduce their carbon emissions and meet growing legislation.

So it has launched a new intermediate certificate in Energy and Cost Management for Data Centres. This launch also coincides with an update of its intermediate certificate in the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres.

The new certificate will provide candidates with the knowledge and understanding in:

•why managing data centre energy and cost is important

•what energy and cost management in the data centre involves

•predicting and demonstrating appropriate management steps

•comparing and distinguishing between energy and cost management options

The certificate is aimed at data centre managers, operators, consultants and technicians, as well as business unit managers, IT purchasers, architects, solution consultants and CSR professionals.

Michiel van der Voort, Director International and Professional Development Services at the Institute explains: 'As the Chartered Institute for IT, our aim is to enable the IT industry to become more energy efficient in itself by providing the IT profession with the knowledge and expertise it needs to lower carbon emissions and reduce the environmental impact of IT. There is no doubt that legislation is going to create demand for an IT professional with new skills, and generate new roles for example, we're already seeing the emergence of new business roles, such as Sustainability Managers.'



Green IT - and calculating an ROI on it - moves up the CIO's agenda

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I was interested in this article based on a survey, which suggests that Green IT is getting more traction within organisations.

Admittedly, 'Green IT' as a category is to some extent being encompassed by a redefinition towards broader low carbon and sustainability, but this Australian survey shows that organisations using 'Green' IT have increased 5 per cent during the second half of last year with nearly three-quarters of CIOs having deployed more environmentally sustainable products and services.

Research firm Ovum surveyed 500 CIOs and IT decision makers during the second half of 2010 from Europe, the US, Middle East and Australia.

Admittedly, the Australian sample size was not the largest, with 43 CIOs from small and mid-sized organisations. But the survey shows that the number of organisations using Green IT grew to 73 per cent in the second half of 2010, up from some 68 per cent in the first half. The reasons for this include tight IT budgets and a sluggish economy forcing IT decision makers to scrutinise spending and realise any potential cost savings Green IT can deliver.

Ovum's analysis makes for interesting reading. Rhonda Ascierto, Ovum analyst and author of a new report, Green IT Deployments Across Key Global Markets, said the growth in Green IT penetration reflects a change of attitude by CIOs.

"Previously, they considered Green IT optional because they defined its value primarily in terms of corporate image, rather than the bottom line," Ascierto said.

"It is now viewed as a core technology that that delivers business value by cutting costs and increasing efficiency. We believe this change has occurred because of constrained IT budgets and a sluggish global economy in the wake of the recession, which forced organisations to scrutinise spending on all types of IT. Many CIOs have for the first time had to calculate a financial return on investment of Green IT."

The survey asked CIOs about five major categories of Green IT: data centre virtualisation, data centre power and cooling technologies, desktop virtualisation, printing and paper usage management, and power management tools for PCs and monitors.

While all will experience growth over the next couple of years, data centre virtualisation has the greatest penetration, with 52 per cent of CIOs surveyed saying they use it. According to Ovum, this figure will grow to 80 per cent by 2013.

Coalition Announces Pledge to halve Carbon Emissions by 2025 - what role will Green IT play?

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Now that the Coalition has announced its pledge to halve carbon emissions by 2025, the next question is how is it going to be achieved. The devil, as they say, is always in the detail.

Winning the political battle in Cabinet - against, it has to be said, some pretty heavy hitters: Messrs Osborne, Cable and Hammond were reportedly against the plans for fear of affecting the economy - is one thing, Now the hard work starts.

Before the end of the year the Government will announce a package of measures to reduce the impact of government policy on the cost of electricity for energy intensive industries and to help them adjust to the low-carbon industrial transformation.

There is more detail on the announcement on the Department of Energy & Climate Change website.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who supported the targets, said, "When the coalition came together last year, we said we wanted this to be the greenest government ever. This is the right approach for Britain if we are to combat climate change, secure our energy supplies for the long-term and seize the economic opportunities that green industries hold.

"In the past twelve months, we have pursued an ambitious green agenda and today, we are announcing the next, historic step. By making this commitment, we will position the UK a leading player in the global low-carbon economy, creating significant new industries and jobs.

"The transition to a low-carbon economy is necessary, real, and global. By stepping up, showing leadership and competing with the world, the UK can prove that there need not be a tension between green and growth."

Energy & Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "Today's announcement will give investors the certainty they need to invest in clean energy. It puts Britain at the leading edge of a new global industrial transformation as well as making good our determination that this will be the greenest government ever.

"The Coalition Government has set a fourth carbon budget level, in line with the advice from the Committee on Climate Change, that sends a clear signal about our determination to transform Britain permanently into a low carbon economy. By cutting emissions we're also getting ourselves off the oil hook, making our energy supplies more secure and opening up opportunities for jobs in the new green industries of the future.

"Through the Green Deal, electricity market reform and the Green Investment Bank we're already putting in place the tools that will help us meet this ambitious carbon budget. This and every future British Government will have to keep up the pace and put in place the most effective policies to tackle climate change.

"Under this carbon budget, Britain in 2027 will be a different place and transformed for the better with warmer homes powered by green energy, many more cars powered by electricity and far less reliance on fossil fuels to drive our economy."

Under the fourth carbon budget, government will aim to reduce emissions domestically as far as practical and affordable, but also intends to keep open the option of trading in order to retain maximum flexibility and minimise costs in the medium-long term.

Groundbreaking innovation will play a crucial role in helping Britain to decarbonise its energy supplies by 2027 in the most economical way. Today the Energy Technologies Institute is asking industry to design, build and test longer offshore wind turbine blades to improve performance. Currently blades are typically 40-60 metres long, but the next generation of turbines could have blades measuring more than 90 metres - almost the height of Big Ben."

It will be interesting to know what role Green IT will eventually play in hitting these targets. I came across this report, which serves as a reminder of some of the relevant figures. 


Greening the Government's new ICT strategy

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The government's new ICT strategy has generated plenty of comment, notably in Computer Weekly and by Socitm in the Guardian discussing the perceived lack of local government focus in the strategy.

Another key ares of interest is in the government's approach to Green IT encompassed by the strategy.

There are three areas specifically covered in the strategy: green ICT standards, a greening government ICT approach, and data centre reductions. The relevant paragraphs in the ICT plan say the following:

  • Green ICT standards that are pivotal to the delivery of improved cost efficiencies will also be factored into the design, delivery and disposal of ICT solutions


  • The Government will publish a Greening Government ICT strategy in line with the Government ICT Strategy and wider carbon reduction policies. This will set out how government will achieve reductions in operational costs and carbon footprints, and will include the use of collaboration and mobile working technologies


  • To reduce the cost and carbon footprint of government ICT, the Government will set up a programme to reduce the cost of data centres across the estate, leading to a 35% reduction in costs over five years

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Data centres category.

CSR is the previous category.

Energy Efficiency is the next category.

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