European Commission funded project CoolEmAll to develop datacentre toolkit

EC's green IT project CoolEmAll is developing the first prototype of the Simulation, Visualisation and Decision-Support (SVD) toolkit

Project CoolEmAll, the European Commission-funded green IT project that aims to provide tools and blueprints that can minimise the energy usage and carbon emissions of datacentres, is developing the first prototype of the simulation, visualisation and decision-support (SVD) toolkit.

The toolkit is designed to help datacentre designers and operators build more energy-efficient facilities using a combination of visualisation, computational fluid dynamics and application-monitoring tools.

When server density in a datacentre grows, its cooling requirements also grow. That is where computational fluid dynamics comes in, as it provides visual display of “heatmaps”.

“We are not trying to build a DCIM [datacentre infrastructure management] tool like service providers. Ours is more like a prototype,” said Andrew Donoghue, analyst at 451 Research, the firm that is collaborating with the European Commission for the CoolEmAll project.

“Our aim is to come up with a more sophisticated datacentre planning and simulation toolset,” Donoghue said at the Datacentre World 2013 event in London.

He said that approximately €3.6m has been made available by the European Commission for the datacentre energy efficiency part of the project.

Project CoolEmAll is developing a range of tools to enable datacentre designers and operators to plan and run facilities more efficiently.

Read more about DCIM

Once developed, these tools and blueprints will help minimise the energy consumption, and consequently the COemissions of the whole IT infrastructure.

Having a working tool that others can see and interact with should help increase the understanding of what the project hopes to achieve around improving the planning and operation of energy efficient datacentres, Donoghue said.

The project, now in its second year, was initiated to resolve the IT energy efficiency issues. It was designed to provide advanced SVD support tools along with blueprints of computing building blocks for modular datacentre environments.

CoolEmAll is a result of a collaboration of a number of supercomputing and environmental research centres and IT specialists such as the 451 Group. It has developed a holistic approach to the complex problem of how to make datacentres more energy- and resource-efficient, Donoghue said.

DCIM landscape

The EC’s SVD toolkit will play a big role in the growing DCIM market segment which is projected to grow from $245m in 2011 to $1.3bn in 2015 and to $1.7bn by 2016, he said.

DCIM comprises tools that combine functions such as datacentre design, asset discovery and management, capacity planning and energy management to help IT executives optimise datacentre resources and energy efficiency.

These tools provide real-time information about the IT applications, resource and energy use that the IT teams can use to improve datacentre’s energy use and also minimise downtime.

“There is a real interest in datacentre infrastructure management and it is growing rapidly," said Donoghue.

“DCIM still is a catch-all phrase to include a whole range of tools by service providers, but the market is maturing,” he added.

“Historically datacentres have been unmonitored for a variety of reasons such as cheaper energy and cheaper IT,” he said. But as the need to save costs and making datacentres green is growing, more enterprises are looking at DCIM tools.

“Suppliers are also demonstrating clearer ROI value of using DCIM and so its popularity is rising,” he said.

Read more on Datacentre energy efficiency and green IT