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Data Center Resource Efficiency : a 10-year collaborative effort


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Les Data Centers sont généralement considérés comme d’importants consommateurs de ressources, d’énergie en particulier. Cependant, pour répondre à la forte croissance du trafic de données, l’industrie des Data Centers s’est mobilisée très tôt, aux côtés des organismes de normalisation et des administrations, pour améliorer l’efficacité des Data Centers dans l’utilisation des ressources. Cette courte publication du Comité de marché Data Centers fait le point sur dix ans de travail des équipementiers en faveur de l’efficacité énergétique des Data Centers, exemples à l’appui.

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Data Center Resource Efficiency : a 10-year collaborative effort

  1. 1. A leading industry for smarter energy Data Center Resource Efficiency: a 10-year collaborative effort D ata centers are commonly regarded as large consumers of resources, particularly energy. To support a tremendous increase in demand for data, however, the data center industry has been pro-active in addressing the challenge of resource efficiency working together with standards organizations and government bodies. Over the last decade, their collaborative effort to improve resource efficiency has followed 3 steps: Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 2000s 2010s Today Improving the efficiency of data center components, also known as passive energy efficiency. Improving the efficiency of data centers as a whole, so-called active energy efficiency. Active management: with software and new technologies, data centers have become key to increasing and optimizing the use of renewable energy sources.
  2. 2. Our challenge The development of tomorrow’s digital economy (e-health, e-education, smart cities, big data, etc.) is crucially dependent on having reliable data centers to support its 24/7 applications. • Meeting an increasing demand for data… The surge in the number of smart phones and the development of the Internet of Things mean that data traffic is set to increase 50-fold by 2050. • …while consuming fewer resources and reducing our CO2 emissions Energy consumption by the digital sector already accounts for 10% of world electricity consumption and this is expected to double in the next 15 years. Data centers are responsible for a quarter of this consumption. Through its climate and energy package, which builds on the international commitments made under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the EU aims to: - reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 20% - increase the use of renewable energy to 20% …by 2020. A collaborative effort Improvements in the resource efficiency of data centers have been achieved over the past decade thanks to close and productive cooperation between industry actors, standards organizations and government bodies. The 3 steps to Data Center Resource Efficiency Over the last 10 years, efforts to improve the resource efficiency of data centers has followed 3 steps: • Step 1: passive energy efficiency Passive energy efficiency focuses on improving the efficiency of data center components such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and servers. Responding to regulations and incentives, infrastructure providers have developed new product designs that meet their clients’ demand for eco-friendliness and increased competitiveness. As a result, in 2015 UPS efficiency reached 95%, from an initial 85% in the 1990s. • Step 2: active energy efficiency Active energy efficiency seeks to improve the efficiency of data centers as a whole, taking advantage of modularity, natural conditions (free cooling) and virtualization to mitigate the natural-resource consumption of data centers. The data center industry has set up various alliances to work together on better data center management and on implementing best practice in order to mitigate CO2 emissions. For example, modular UPS achieve 98% efficiency compared to 92% with standalone systems. While 75 standalone servers account for 35,325 watts, one R810 running 75 VMs (i.e. the equivalent computing power) consumes only 6,120 watts, one sixth of the power. Specifically, the Commission aims to ensure that 80% of the energy consumed by data centers comes from renewable energy sources by 2030. Standardization Main Standards Organizations (ISO, IEC, ITU) Government bodies Issue directives and regulations Industry Alliances Produce tools, materials Gimélec A few initiatives: • Codes of conduct developed with the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (UPS, broadband equipment) • Compliance with the EPA’s Energy Star programs (UPS, servers) • Product Environmental Footprint pilot programs with the European Commission (UPS) • ErP projects with the Commission (Lot 9: Servers; Lot 27: UPS) A few initiatives: • Creation of consortia to develop metrics and best practice to improve resource efficiency (The Green Grid, Digital Europe) • Data center Code of conduct with the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (2008) • Data center working groups on how to capture carbon emissions, managed by the Commission • Projects co-funded by the European Commission (Games, Fit4Green, All4Green, CoolEmAll) 1 2
  3. 3. 6 ongoing RD projects: • DC4Cities, • GreenDataNet, • Geyser, • Genic, • Renew IT, • Dolfin. Energy providers Fossil + Renewable Customers Data Centers Network Reuse of Heat Energy management Workload management Service contracts Service contracts Data Center Operators – @Gimelec 3 • Step 3: active management Towards smart integration: the central role of the data center The development of smart cities will increase the need for data. In this context, data centers will play a key role in improving resource efficiency. Federating data centers will enable transfer of useful work from one data center to another to help manage and balance the use of renewable energy sources. This will be made possible by implementing services contracts between the various actors in the ecosystem: utilities, operators, telecommunications companies and customers. Heat re-use will also be developed whenever possible. This is the route being taken by the various ongoing RD projects co-funded by the European Commission. Next steps The data center industry, together with standards organizations and government bodies, will continue developing initiatives aimed at improving resource efficiency. Besides RD projects in the field of data centers and smart cities, several other projects are either in progress or about to start. This will help stakeholders improve the procurement, operation, design, and recycling of data centers, with the ultimate goal of reducing carbon emissions and water consumption. Set up in 2014, Gimélec’s Data Centers Market Committee brings together 8 infrastructure providers which aim to work together on the data center market, develop their technical ability to improve the resource efficiency of data centers and raise the profile of the data center industry. Its member companies are ABB France, Eaton Industries, Emerson Network Power SAS, Legrand, Rittal SAS, Schneider Electric France, Siemens and Socomec. Contact: André Rouyer –