U.K. hosting provider 2020Media has launched a "green server" service that it claims is the first of its type in the U.K.
EcoServ servers will be hosted in the new Telehouse West data centre in London's Docklands, which offsets its carbon footprint by using solar power and exporting waste heat for use in nearby homes and businesses.
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2020Media is using Supermicro's new low-power Atom CPU servers that run at less than 40 watts of power per hour under full load -- less than a light bulb. Typical dual-core servers use 10 times that amount.
Rex Wickham, the operations director at 2020Media, claims the marriage of a green building and green servers is what makes this offering unique.
"Some of our competitors, like Rackspace, are offering things like carbon offsetting or green hosting using data centres in California, but Telehouse's data centre combined with the low-power servers is a very new proposition in the U.K.," Wickham said.
Green hosting options without paying a premium
If you outsource [servers] to a host, then you can achieve big savings, particularly in staffing costs.
Under the EcoServ banner, 2020Media will offer customers virtual servers, dedicated servers and colocation. The new green services will use Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation platform. "Basically because the technology has a no-cost licence, whereas the startup cost of something like VMware is quite high," Wickham said.
The company is currently running a launch promotion offering users free setup, double bandwidth for three months and Windows OS for three months. "There's no premium charged to customers choosing to go green with us, which is rare, because sometimes you have to pay more for greener options," Wickham said. He declined to give pricing details.
2020Media is expecting to appeal to local councils and government departments, which have stringent new environmental targets to meet. Wickham also anticipates large organisations, with well-documented green policies, to sign up to EcoServ and says that in two years' time the company has set itself the bullish target of having 50% of its new business using green servers and the green data centre.
Another sector 2020Media intends to target is companies looking to reduce the impact on the environment of their IT equipment by outsourcing to a hosting provider. As well as achieving emissions reductions this approach can also deliver significant cost savings, claims Wickham.
"If you have your own servers in-house, you have to pay for an administrator and possibly a help desk. If you outsource it to a host, then you can achieve big savings, particularly in staffing costs."
Going forward, 2020Media intends to broaden the services it provides under the EcoServ banner and hasn't ruled out introducing cloud computing in the future, but not for the time being.
"We've got some customers who have servers with us and who also use Amazon, and unfortunately those servers haven't been as reliable as our dedicated servers," said Wickham. "We find that there are benefits with cloud in terms of the expandability side of things. But one of the key things that people want is a reliable service. They want their site or service to be up with 99.9% predictability, and if [companies] like Amazon can't achieve it, then we're not going to do it. We don't want to offer something that's less reliable than what we are offering now."
Simon Creasey is a contributor to SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.uk.