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Mobile operator Three cuts datacentre cooling energy usage through EkkoSense deployment

Mobile operator Three enlisted the help of EkkoSense to reduce the amount of energy used to cool four of its legacy datacentres as part of a cost- and carbon-cutting initiative

Mobile network provider Three claims to have cut the amount of energy needed to cool its legacy datacentres by 12.5% in just 10 weeks through the deployment of EkkoSense’s artificial intelligence-enabled server farm optimisation software.

Three deployed the EkkoSense EkkoSoft Critical software-as-a-service (SaaS) visualisation and analytics offering to pinpoint areas in its datacentres where its airflows could be improved for cooling optimisation purposes.

The project’s aim was to secure a 5% energy consumption reduction across Three’s four legacy datacentre facilities, which were all in excess of 20 years old, to mitigate the impact of energy price hikes and provide the organisation with more granular detail about how its sites operate.

The EkkoSense offering features internet of things-enabled thermal sensors that are attached to all of a site’s server racks and cooling systems to allow Three’s team to track how its datacentres are performing in real time.

The data collected by these sensors is then fed into the EkkoSense software, with the setup reportedly collecting thousands of data points every five minutes, so that opportunities to optimise how Three cools its sites can be identified.  

“This [work] has already resulted in initial cooling energy savings of 200kW against a 196kW projection, while also helping the Three datacentre team to meet a corporate demand for 5% total energy saving across its legacy sites,” the companies said in a joint statement.

Three said the decision to revamp the cooling setup of its legacy datacentre sites is part of wider IT sustainability push, which includes a carbon emissions reduction strategy.

“Following initial discussions with our partner CBRE, we identified that improved cooling efficiency was one of the most effective ways to help optimise our datacentre energy performance and secure environmental improvements,” said Shamim Mohamed, datacentre operations and service readiness manager at Three.

“The EkkoSense team conducted an initial survey that suggested we could initially unlock a combined 196 kW saving – equating to an annual energy saving of 1,716,960 kWh.”

Mohamed said the company initially set a 10-week timeframe for the project, but EkkoSense was able to complete the initial optimization phase in just six weeks.

“With the EkkoSoft Critical software fully deployed, the thermal optimisation project performed ahead of our initial expectations, with the datacentre cooling savings alone enabling us to meet our corporate energy savings targets for our legacy sites,” Mohamed continued.

“This has enabled us to target annual energy savings of around £233,000 – meaning we’ve also been able to target an overall project ROI of under 12 months.”

EkkoSense CEO Dean Boyle said: “Our software’s ability to provide much more granular insight into cooling and thermal performance will give the Three datacentre team much more control over how the company manages its four legacy sites over the next three years.”

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