Sunday 9 August 2020

Musings on the Data Centre of the Future - Part 1

We've been working in the field of Green IT for over 10 years now, and its been an interesting journey.

Some readers will know that I had my "Road to Damascus" in 2003, when I visited the Eden Project in Cornwall, we'd spent the day walking through the tropical and semi arid desert biomes and the external areas and on our depature, we had to exit via the shop. The shop was full of all the sorts of things you'd expect a living laboratory site to have, books about gardening, tools, sustainably sourced knick knacks etc etc etc. However, there was one single item hidden high on a shelfing unit that did make me "double take" it was a recycled circuit board, something that had failed final inspection, and instead of throwing it in a landfill, or indeed sending it with a load more electronic waste and dump it in Africa or China, someone had decided that it would make an excellent plate or mouse mat.

I remember looking at it, and thinking thats a terrible way for a computer to die, there must be something better we can do with obselete or surplus computing equipment.

That moment, was my conversion, from a systems engineer working for a major UK MSP, I spent the next 6 years making my plans, I would seek to obtain a degree from the Open University, that covered the environmental issues and perhaps add development and climate change aspects to the problem, I graduated in 2010 with a BSc (Hons) Tech with environment and development (Open) degree, and started my own "Sustainable IT consultancy, Carbon3IT Ltd in August 2009 and we officially opened in Jan 2010.

The last 11 years or so have been the most satisfying of my career to date, I've travelled to places (paid by other people) that I'd never thought I ever get to, Sydney, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo, Austin, most of Europe just for starters, I walked around some interesting data centres, some great, some in need of a lot of energy efficiency attention.

Anyway, I digress, the purpose of this post is to muse on the data centre of the future.

Now, many commentators of all things data centre will go on record and state that the data centre of the future looks very much like the data centre of today and to be honest there is a lot of credence that should be paid to those that have this point of view, it is a very practical approach, and given that data centres are designed to last between 15-20 years, a valid one.

However, this is very 20th Century thinking, and we have to consider the wider aspects of energy security, climate change and to determine exactly what we are doing with our IT systems and question some of the traditional facts.

So, where can we find a "blueprint" that can make us really think about our ICT systems and how we deliver them?

The EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) is the best thing I have come across that can assist us in our quest.

Put simply, it forms the basis of a radical strategic and cultural change programme that will yield significant benefits across the entire corporate landscape, reducing cost, reducing energy consumption and thus carbon emissions, and combined with the 5 major ISO Management Systems, making the organisation, leaner, fitter and with the necessary control systems to deal with literally anything that can be thrown at it.

During the EURECA project, we identified the Magnificent 7, a toolbox of data centre standards, guidelines and ISO management systems that all prudent DC operators should follow that can help them acheive an ICT ECO-SYSTEM that actively reduces energy and carbon, meets business goals and most impending or current regulation and provides a roadmap to the future.

So, what are the Magnificent 7?

ISO9001 Quality Management Systems

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems

ISO22301 Buiness Continuity Management Systems

ISO 27001 Information Security Management Systems

ISO50001 Energy Management Systems

EN Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency)

EN 50600 Series of Data Centre Design, Build and Operate Standards

The ISO Management Standards speak for themselves, the correct application of the requirements of each standard (and obviously, the integration of common areas) build a foundation of excellence.

However, and I believe that this is a major problem, too many organisations pay lip service to the "spirit" of the standard and fail to really understand what the system is for, they often see it as a necessary evil, that they only undertake "certification" to meet other procurement or tender requirements.

But, if they really understand what the Standard is designed to achieve and implemented the requirements correctly, then the organisation will be able to meet the energy and carbon legislation, reduce cost, and meet business goals.

The EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency), provides for a radical strategic and cultural change, briefly, as the actual implementation actions that can be taken, are our USP and we charge for it! are as follows:

Management, Section 3 of the EUCOC covers Data Centre Utilisation, Management and Planning, in this section we see that the very 1st best practice is the "enabler" of all the others, it is quite simply "group involvement" in essence, gather a group of people that touch the data centre, you could call them stakeholders and have regular meetings so that everybody knows what everyone else is doing , this helps prevent those Friday night emergencies, when someone in the business has ordered loads of kit and whats it up and running by Monday morning, but didn't tell you. So, in order to fulfill this request you have to run and around and organise, new power, new connectivity and the installation of this kit.

It's in this section where we see the introduction of the "concept" of the management systems, note that I did not say ISO Management systems, merely management systems and this is because the EUCOC is  NOT Prescriptive. Indeed, we mention 3 specific management systems, an Environmental, an Energy and an Asset management system, we point to the ISOs but do not specify that they should be an ISO certificated system.

We also introduce the concept of sustainable energy usage, alternative power generation technologies,  management of air quality, conscise documentation, and a comprehensive training and development programme for staff.

In section 3.3 we bring into play, the concept of thinking about resilience levels, lean provisioning and part load concepts.

Section 4 is all about the IT with best practices on procurement, temperature and humidity ranges for new equipment (so, you can begin to operate at the higher ASHRAE levels and reap energy savings.)

Section 4.2 is IT deployment, software efficiency etc.

4.3 talks about the management of the existing estate, audit the physical and virtual estates, perhaps you've got "server creep" some virtual machines may have been fired up by a dev team and used for a project, that project finished 3 years ago, but you've still got these VMs cluttering up your stack. A comprehensive audit can identify targets for optimisation.

4.4 is all about the data, essentially, what have we got, where is it, and do we need it anymore? can we reduce our storage energy bill by the prudent management of that data?

Section 5, the largest section of the EUCOC contains the best practices appertaining to Cooling, and covers, Air Flow Management & Design, Cooling Management, Temp and Humidity Settings, Cooling Plant, CRAC/Hs, Direct Liquid Cooling and the reuse of DC waste heat.

6, is all about power, specifically UPS.

7 is other DC equipment, lighting, and having sensors to report back temp/humidity, energy etc to an advanced DCiM.

Section 8 is the building itself, like a feasibility or site location exercise, but not quite, covering some design/build principles, location stuff and water issues, but to be honest the EN 50600, 2-1 Building construction covers them in more detail.

Section 9 is the Monitoring section, and as we all know, you cannot manage what you cannot measure, so this section provides the detail and what, where and how you should be measuring all the data points within the DC.

Section 10 covers the best practices that will be implemented in following editions, so for instance, in the 2020 edition (v11) there is one best practice, 5.7.5 Capture Ready Infrastructure "Consider installing "Capture Ready Infrastructure to take advantage of, and distribute available waste heat during new build and retrofit projects. Section 5.7.x is the Reuse of Data Centre waste heat section.

Section 11 are Items under consideration, what this section is, is essentially a holding area for proposed best practices, pending additional information, sector feedback or the development of a new technology, so for instance, in the 2020 edition (v11) there are 3 best practices, the first is software efficiency development definitions and/or metrics this has been located in this section since the EUCOC began in 2009 and really is a souce of embarassment as the software community really haven't grasped the mettle and come up with any definitions or metrics.

Two new best practices were added to this section in 2019, both by myself, under the remit of the CATALYST Project  the first is Network Energy use, this is basically a request for organisations to calculate the "hidden" energy when they move to the Cloud or colocation service, if you take your equipment and locate it elsewhere, your users will expend more energy than if it was located on your site, it may not seem much, but there are two aspects to this, one is the energy cost itself (although this is borne by others (your carriers and the telecommunication operators, and secondly, to identify all the possible SPOF points. Although the internet is self-healing there are some SPOF points.

The second is to be aware of, and plan for energy flexibility or energy storage services that may arise from any Smart Grid implementations in your local area, as a large energy user, you will be in the Utilities crosshairs.

So, there we have it, the first musings on the Data Centre of the Future and my belief that we actually already have the foundations already laid, we now need to build on them and that will be the topic for the second part of my musings on the Data Centre of the Future, whcih will probably be published in late September/Early October.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Lockdown blues...

nah, not in Carbon3IT Towers!

We're very busy at the moment and have a number of time critical tasks that are er, time critical so I really shouldn't be "blogging" but its a nice day, so...

Its time for a little update, we continue to work with the CATALYST project and you can see the fruits of our labours in the new project website, which you can find here this new sharper, quicker site is a coproduction between the project (in the guise of my good self) and Cobra Systems, a Dutch member of Green IT Amsterdam  more info here
I, in my role as project manager for the project on behalf of Green IT Amsterdam, where I am under contract as their "in house" data centre consultant, scoped the brief, provided content and have been the admin webmaster for the past few weeks, i think it looks and feels great and we'd love your feedback.

We're also using Cobra to design and build a new website for the CATALYST Green Data Centre Roadmap, which you can see below:

This map has an associated Green Data Centre Handbook, which is the, ahem, time critical task that I'm supposed to be doing instead of writing this article!

The new GDCR website will feature an "interactive" version of the roadmap and access to the
handbook as well as some other interesting stuff which will remain secret for now.
The Cobra team and myself, finalised most of the design earlier this week and we expect to have a provisional release by mid June, and a public version ready by the end of June, it should be noted that we have been working on this since early January, but the coronavirus and travel restrictions plus work on the main website has sucked out a lot of our planning time, still we're nearly there and I'm very excited about the project, not just for the CATALYST project itself but for the wider datacentre industry.

We're, that is Green IT Amsterdam, are finalising another datacentre project, funded by Horizon 2020 which will start in September, so in essence, we have another 3 years of work with Green IT Amsterdam on this new project to look forward to, we'll keep you informed via our usual social media feeds.

On the CEEDA front, we finalised and released the last CEEDA conducted before lockdown and it was quite hairy! I'd travelled to Brindisi on the 8th March, conducted the assessment on the 9th and was due to fly back on the 10th, when lockdown hit Italy, not the northern area but the entire country, I found out via text message from a good friend and client on the 9th in the evening, cue much angst from the family, but it turned out alright in the end, I flew back the following morning (10th) and then spent 14 days in self-isolation, missing, much to my annoyance, the Data Centre World event in London.

So, whats the outlook for Carbon3IT ? Surprisingly good, we have a training session and CEEDA assessment scheduled for October, our partners at DCD have had a lot of enquiries for CEEDA post lockdown, we've been asked to present and host at a number of data centre events scheduled to take place in Q3/4 of course many of which have already been moved from their original dates due to corona, and now rescheduled, all of which are pending lockdown and the suspension of travel restrictions. We'll be working on CATALYST until September, possibly longer and we have our new project, so all good.

So, until next time, wash those hands and keep safe.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

International Data Centre Day - 25th March 2020

First of all, a massive shout out to all those involved in Data Centres, be it, operations, construction, or consultancy, that are working so hard to keep the internet running globally, the connected world depends on it.

Not to forget, the millions of healthcare professional globally fighting the coronavirus.

Data Centres process data, the data that runs banks, logistics, academia, governments and almost every aspect of modern life, use a contactless card to buy groceries?, you will route through a data centre, buy on the web? the web and data centres enable not only the ability to view millions of items, but also to pay for it, conducting research? perhaps on the Coronavirus? Data Centres house the data and do the number crunching. Doing maths homework, the application will be running in a data centre and may route through multiple smaller data centres to get to your home.

Here, at Carbon3IT Ltd we work in supporting data centres with a number of  services including ad-hoc training, consultancy, compliance on the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) (EUCOC), ISOs including ISO9001 (Quality), ISO14001 (Environmental) ISO22301 (Business Continuity) ISO27001 (Information Security) and finally ISO50001 (Energy) Management Systems.

We are also ESOS Lead Assessors.

We can provide guidance on EN50600. We work in standards development, primarily the EUCOC and EN 50600.

We also conduct data centre audits, for EUCOC, CEEDA (Certified Energy Efficiency Data Centres Award) and for EN 50600 Gap Analysis.

We wish all data centres, their employees, the supply chain and use the very best International Data Centre Day 2020!

Keep safe, and wash those hands!

Wednesday 4 March 2020

EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) v11 Update

The 2020 version of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) was published in January, however due to an oversight the reporting form had not been updated until earlier today.

Below is a conscise list of EVERY change made to the reporting form.

New applicants are advised to download all the guidance documentation before completing the forms, (or seek expert advice from ourselves) existing participants should use the latest 2020 reporting form v11 when published, to advise the EU-JRC of progress against all best practices and any action plans, as well as provide updated energy data.

Given the recent EU announcements that "data centres can and should be climate neutral by 2030" and that they are considering measures, it is highly recommended that all data centres in the EU and UK consider becoming a participant in the EUCOC as soon as possible.

This recommendation applies to all hyperscale, colocation and enterprise sites.

All the documents can be downloaded from this link

Carbon3IT Ltd has been working with the EU-JRC since 2012, we sit on the best practices committee and provide under contract, the review services for all participants.

However, we also provide pre-EUCOC reviews and can complete the application and reporting forms on your behalf for a set fee (currently £3000+VAT per site, discounts are available for multiple sites) in whch case we will inform the EU-JRC that we have provided this service and an alternate reviewer will be engaged.
To date we have completed 40 EUCOC applications on behalf of global clients and all have been accepted on initial application.

The best practices for 2020 have been updated as follows:

3.3.2 Practice Updated
3.2.4 Practice Updated
3.2.5 Practice Updated
3.2.6 Practice Updated
3.2.8 Practice Updated
3.2.12 Practice Updated 
3.2.13 Practice Updated
3.2.14 Practice has become MANDATORY and Note Updated
3.2.15 Practice has become MANDATORY and Note Updated

4.1.1 Practice Updated
4.1.2 Practice Updated
4.1.3 Practice Updated
4.1.4 Practice Updated
4.1.6 Practice Updated
4.1.10 Practice Updated
4.1.11 Practice Updated
4.1.14 Practice Updated
4.1.15 Practice Updated

4.2.6 Practice Updated
4.2.8 *New Practice* 

4.3.2 Practice Updated
4.3.5 Practice Updated
4.3.6 Practice Updated

4.4.4 Practice Updated

5.1.3 Practice has become MANDATORY and Updated

5.2.6 Practice Updated

5.6.1 Practice renumbered (previously

5.7.1 Practice renumbered (previously 5.6.1)
5.7.2 Practice renumbered (previously 5.6.2
5.7.3 Practice renumbered (previously 5.6.3)
5.7.4 Practice renumbered (previously 5.6.4)

8.3.3 Practice updated
9.2.2 Practice has become MANDATORY for new build/retrofit and updated

Please also note that there are 3 new best practices scheduled for publication next year, these are

5.7.5 Capture Read Infrastructure - 

Consider installing ‘Capture Ready’ Infrastructure to take advantage of, and distribute, available waste heat during new build and retrofit projects.

This is scheduled to become a mandatory best practice from 2021

11.2 Network Energy Use - 

When purchasing new cloud services or assessing a cloud strategy, assess the impact on network equipment usage and the potential increase or decrease in energy consumption with the aim of being to inform purchasing decisions.

The minimum scope should include inside the data centre only.
The ambition is to include overall energy consumption and energy efficiency including that related to multiple site operation and the network energy use between those sites.

11.3 Smart Grid - 

Continue to evaluate the use of energy storage and usage to support Smart Grid. A Smart Grid is a solution that employs a broad range of information technology resources, allowing for a potential reduction in electricity waste and energy costs

Wednesday 26 February 2020

The Phoney War is over....

Back in 2008, the British Computer Society, Chartered Institute for IT, the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs (DeFRA) and the EU - Joint Research Centre launched the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) also known as the EUCOC, comprising of 2 parts, the first a series of best practices for data centre operators to use, to really optimise their facilties using a combination of tangible (those that you can touch such as blanking panels, or change, such as temperature settings) and intangible (such as changes to policy, processes and procedures covering procurement, service take on, and management) And the second, a scheme for those using (participants) or promoting (endorsing) the EUCOC.

To date, there are some 350+ Data Centre "participants" from various organisations, a combination of colocation, hyperscale and enterprise organisations, and 250+ "endorsers" covering consultancies, organisations, trade bodies and suppliers to the industry.
There are annual reporting requirements for both participants and endorsers.
Participants are required to report (by the end of February) energy consumption information, whether any new best practice has been adopted and progress against an action plan which is formulated on intial application.
Endorsers are required to report any "endorsing" actions taken place annually from the anniversary of their initial application.

From the initial application, data is extracted from the reporting forms and is used as the input into a report from the reviewer (currently ourselves) to the EU-JRC on a regular but not annual basis.
Energy consumption data is tabulated and forms inputs into research conducted by the working group, where it is used to provide support to policy makers with the EC and EP.

As we are not party to the annual update participants data or the endorser annual reports we cannot report on the frequency or accuracy of any information passed to the EU-JRC.

However, many of our readers will know that we provide pre-EUCOC reviews and in some cases actually complete the reporting forms and participation applications on behalf of clients as a paid for service, currently £3000+VAT per site, although discounts are available for multiple sites.

Readers will also know that the EUCOC best practices, but not the scheme, have been adopted by the CEN/CENELEC/ETSI standards body as a technical report under the EN 50600 series of Data Centres, design, build and operator standards and available from national standards bodies as "PD CLC/TR 50600-99-1:2019"

So, why sign up and provide the energy data etc? Well, it was felt, and in some EU member states actually implemented, that public sector procurement of data centre and data centres services (such as cloud) would require, as a scoring element of the tender process, that the data centre had to be a participant of the EUCOC. This is certainly the case for the UK G-Cloud and other EU national governments, although not actively policed.

It should also be noted that the scheme is VOLUNTARY!

From our own work with CEEDA (which is an external (paid for) assessment based upon a subset of the EUCOC and ISO30134/EN50600 KPIs), we have over the last 8 yrs or so visited 60 CEEDA sites, compiled around 20 EUCOC reporting forms on behalf of clients, and reviewed some 200 participant application forms on behalf of the EU-JRC and discussions with colleagues in the industry where we discuss energy efficiency and the implementation of the best practices, especially the intangible elements, it has to be said that, some, but not all of our clients are paying lip service to the EUCOC and it could be argued merely ticking boxes with little or no intention of acting upon the action plan that we create.

There are many reasons for this, primarily client SLA's or indifference, a lack of skills within the organisation, lack of funding, or indifference from senior managers and this is understandable when there is no external compulsion such as regulation or the need for an operating licence.

The past 12 years or so, can now be considered the "phoney war" as it is clear, in light of the recent announcement from the EU regarding the Green Deal, especially the following statement...

"Yet it is also clear that the ICT sector also needs to undergo its own green transformation. The environmental footprint of the sector is significant, estimated at 5-9% of the world’s total electricity use and more than 2% of all emissions. Data centres and telecommunications will need to become more energy efficient, reuse waste energy, and use more renewable energy sources. They can and should become climate neutral by 2030. 

that the phoney war is over and that we can expect measures from the EU to persuade data centres to actively up their game,  and that they will be required to become more energy efficient (and there are a couple of methods for this but at the core is the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) and other EU polices such as EMAS and BEMP, reuse waste heat and use more renewable energy sources.)

All of these 3 elements are contained in the CATALYST project which we are working on, on behalf of Green IT Amsterdam, more information on the website

We'll be on the road talking about the project and wider aspects of the potential policy changes at the following events:

Data Centre World London March 11/12th 
Data Centre Forum Oslo March 19th
DCD Energy Smart Stockholm April 27/28th
DDI/UN Copenhagen May 15th

Check out the CATALYST project website for more event info here

We've been working in this area for the past 10 yrs and have built up a wealth of exprience and knowledge in the field, so if you need any practical advice contact us on or send us a message on linked in or twitter feed. 

Monday 30 December 2019

Air V Liquid - Part 4 - Ecosystems

Following on from the previous articles, and over a year late! we're now going to look at the relative costs of providing an ecosystem for IT equipment, essentially the rationale for data centres.

I think its important to recognise that back in the past, the delivery of IT systems was a lot different to the way we do it today, but it does have a bearing on data centre ecosytem architectures.
Back in the day, business used a central mainframe and dumb terminals, the main frames were heavy bits of kit and I can remember some installations where floors were strengthened to take the weight, thus rooms in buildings were specifically used for IT equipment, cooling solutions were installed and Bob's your uncle, you had a computer room.

These were normally over provisioned to allow for expansion and I've personally been asked to build a new room that needed to cover the existing kit plus 100% expansion.
Well, thats all very well, but 100% of what exactly? floor space, power density, network capacity, cooling capacity? Normally, everything was doubled up, just to cover ourselves, but it was never going to be enough. Why? because IT was getting smaller, more equipment was needed, power densities rose, more network was needed. So these rooms soon became not fit for purpose and for a variety of reasons, insufficient cooling capacity, not enough power, in some cases not enough space.

So, IT managers were in a dilemma, without visibility of IT needs moving forward, it became impossible to provide expansion space without spending a great deal of capital in future proofing (with the risk of getting it completely wrong) or failing to meet the business requirements.
I've seen row upon row of racks, all empty because the business decided to use blade servers, which of course have a high power density that standard servers, and there wasn't sufficient power available so power was taken from other racks, rending them useless, this of course leads to hot spots because you've concentrating your IT (a blade chassis is about 7.5kW) into an area that was designed for a standard 2kW rack.

Today, business has other options than to keep their IT on premise, they can use colocation facilites or cloud services but they will still need a room on premise to provide networking access to the colocation/cloud services and they may have some on site compute (those services that can't go into the cloud for reasons such as latency or data transfer rates),

All we've done though, is transfer the problem of the ecosystem to someone else, now its the colocation provider that has to think about capacity, in terms of space, power and cooling and the thing is, is that they are always behind the curve, insofar as they are reactive rather than proactive, they respond to customers requirements in a building that was designed in the past, with the pasts intepretation of power, space and cooling requirements and that leads to the same problems. i.e. a lack of power, problems with cooling, and the risk of having empty racks.

Its understandable though, if you are a colocation or hosting provider, you dont have crystal balls to see into the future, so you have to deal with what you know or you can take a gamble on what the future looks like.

The future, to them is very much like the past, insofar that if 99% of systems are designed for air cooling then an air cooling infrastructure is what they will build.

Hence, the market is dominated by air cooled systems, and so we should build for air.

Building for air means, a raised floor (perhaps), it means CRAC/H's, it means pipework, it means chillers, or external units, in whatever flavour you desire, but you have to provide an infrastructure for what the market needs, and at the present time that is air.

But it doesn't have to be that way...

The data centre of the "future" is, very much like the data centre of today, given that we are building them today (as discussed with my friend and colleague Mark Acton) however, what would the data centre of the future look like if we did adopt some of the more outlandish suggestions coming out of academia and some design consultancies and what if we decided to adopt more liquid cooled options?

In November I attended the DCD London event, where not one but two immersed liquid cooled solutions were on show, both using the single immersion technique (this is where the server is immersed into a bath full of an engineered (non dielectric) liquid, the heat generated by the servers is carried by the liquid to the top of the bath and transferred via a heat exchanger to an external water circuit, this is then connected to a external dry cooler and the heat vented into the atmosphere, but when compared with an air cooled solution, we see that some of the capital plant items, namely the floor (baths dont need a raised floor), and CRAC/Hs are moot, as a result the capex and opex costs will be lower.
But, we can go one step further and get revenue, thus potentially reducing our costs even further. How?, simple, the heat rejected by the system is warmer and in a medium where it can be captured better than air and thus directed to provide, or offset energy use elesewhere, such as hot water or heating locally (within the building) or passed to a low temperature district heating system for use over a wider area. There are some commercial aspects that need to be ironed out with this approach, such as contractual agreements, cost, and service levels etc.

This approach, where waste heat is used to offset energy requirements elsewhere, is a fundamental aspect of Green Data Centres and from our research it appears that liquid immersed systems can contribute, and we're not the only ones thinking this..

The whole concept of data centres as engaged players in the energy transition towards the decarbonisation of society is within the remit of the EU funded Catalyst project

So, in terms of capital and operation costs of  air v liquid where do we stand ?

There are in effect 3 types of cooling for data centres, the first is using a chilled (or cold) water loop, this basically transfers the air cycle heat to liquids in the CRAC unit which are then pumped to a chiller where the retained heat is dissapated into the atmosphere.

The second is to use evaporative cooling, wiki provides good content on how evaporative cooling works and this is the text

"An evaporative cooler (also swamp cooler, swamp box, desert cooler and wet air cooler) is a device that cools air through the evaporation of water. Evaporative cooling differs from typical air conditioning systems, which use vapor-compression or absorption refrigeration cycles. Evaporative cooling uses the fact that water will absorb a relatively large amount of heat in order to evaporate (that is, it has a large enthalpy of vaporization). The temperature of dry air can be dropped significantly through the phase transition of liquid water to water vapor (evaporation). This can cool air using much less energy than refrigeration. In extremely dry climates, evaporative cooling of air has the added benefit of conditioning the air with more moisture for the comfort of building occupants.
The cooling potential for evaporative cooling is dependent on the wet-bulb depression, the difference between dry-bulb temperature and wet-bulb temperature (see relative humidity). In arid climates, evaporative cooling can reduce energy consumption and total equipment for conditioning as an alternative to compressor-based cooling. In climates not considered arid, indirect evaporative cooling can still take advantage of the evaporative cooling process without increasing humidity. Passive evaporative cooling strategies can offer the same benefits of mechanical evaporative cooling systems without the complexity of equipment and ductwork."

Some social media and search engine hyperscalers use this type of cooling technology.

The third is Emerging liquid technologies and include "liquid to chip", cold plate and immersive.

Liquid to chip and cold plate in effect are extending the chilled water loops into the rack, and in the case of liquid to chip into the server.

Immersed technologies however are a very different kettle of fish.

This is where a server is actually immersed into a non dielectric fluid in either a single mode (direct bath) or dual mode (server is encased in a blade type enclosure filled with the non dielectric fluid and installed into a chassis with the liquid cooling loops).

The heat transfer is made to the fluid and then via a heat exchanger to water and then to a dry cooler or other mode of use, these are the waste heat reuse scenarios often discussed, heating office areas, resdiential heating, swimming pools and greenhouses.

An air cooled data centre needs the following:

Raised Floor (not always)
Chiller (or dry cooler, other method of rejecting heat)
Power train (HV/LV boards, PDU's)

In a immersed liquid data centre, you reduce some of these elements as follows:

Raised Floor (we dont need to pump air under the floor, but you still might want to run power and network cables under the floor (but we're seeing a lot of overhead cable routes now so maybe not!))

CRAC/H's are not required
Chillers are not required, although if you dont have a easily available user for your waste heat, you might want to include a dry cooler for summer running
Power train - Most Immersed Units are already equipped with full 2N power, and only need a standard connection.
UPS would still be required but as you're only going to need it for power and not cooling, you can downsize it.
Batteries, again you can reduce the amount of batteries needed.

All in all, we think that moving to an fully immersed solution could save around 50% of a standard data centre build costs, couple that with reduced operating costs and your data centre is already saving lots of money, consider the CATALYST project and you may even begin to make money from selling that waste heat and providing grid services.

We geniunely believe that in the future ALL data centres will be used immersed technologies and be integrated with smart grids and that the CATALYST project will do EXACTLY what it says on the tin!

Thats the Air v Liquid skirmish put to bed, and we've been a strong supporter of the technology since 2010 when we saw the first immersed demo unit from ICEOTOPE, since then we've been following and writing about this technology in a number of articles, one of which was an update from the original article, I recall, Martin from Asperitas telling me that I would need to update it sooner rather than 2021 and I think he's right, so look out for that update to an update!!

Friday 20 December 2019

Carbon3IT 2019 Update and 2020 Forecast

This year has ben AMAZING!

Absolutely, bloody amazing, I said and I quote from last year "I'm not going to gaze into my crystal ball at this time, except to say that 2019 is going to be a VERY interesting year." and so it proved.
Did I say AMAZING!, it was and at the risk of repeating myself, it was AMAZING!

So, why was it amazing? Well, I'm going to follow our usual format of a month by month commentary so here goes....

So, January 2019 saw us visiting a new clients premises to begin work on a whitepaper on IST, this was published by them in Q2 and, will feature in a forthcoming edition of a european DC related publication as well as a feature on the CATALYST project, more on that later! We also attended in Amsterdam again followed by a quick visit to Brussels to speak at the ICT Footprint event. At the end of the Month I went to Boden, Lulea, Sweden to visit the DC that was the topic of a recent post. They also WON an award at the DCD Global Awards, the.....

We also had a few meetings with a client for ISO50001 certification, more on that later as well!

February is usually a fairly quiet month but we had a few calls for potential future projects, most of these planned to start in the new financial year and I spoke at the ENTress event in Wolverhampton on climate resilent infrastructure, specifically DCs citing the example of the City of Lancaster after Storm Desmond in 2015. We, as SFL also put in a funding round and we had loads of meetings to decide approach, content and finances, sadly we didn't get through to the next round but we did gain very valuable exprience.

March saw us visit the DCW event in London, which proved to be a turning point as we met up with Vicki from Green IT Amsterdam to have a handover of the CATALYST project, basically we are now the in-house data centre consultants for Green IT Amsterdam working on the CATALYST project, more info here

April  saw us visit Oslo at the Data Centre Forum where I spoke about the CATALYST project, the second of what turned out to be numerous trips to the Nordic region in 2019.
We also went to Zurich for a GRIG meeting, this is Green IT Global and consists of a number of organisations based in the UK, Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Finland promoting the use of sustainable ICT. We also had a couple of meetings with a few clients.

Early May,saw our MD getting excited as his team, Charlton got into a playoff position in League 1, eventually winning against Sunderland at Wembley. Oh, and a visit to Helsinki to speak at the Data Centre Forum on CATALYST and the EUCOC.

We love June, it might be because we get to go to Monaco for the DataCloud Europe event, as usual we were invited as the guest of the EU-JRC and this year partly funded by our friends at Rentaload, well if you call going back to a villa high up in the mountains above Monaco and staying in a dorm! Its always a good event for us and we picked up 3 new clients! A planned visit to the Netherlands was cancelled due to a family illness.

In July, our MD took his first visit to Poland and his 3rd to India, Bangalore to speak about CATALYST.

August is usually pretty quiet due to the holiday season and we all went to Amsterdam for a mini break, we did have a meeting with Green IT Amsterdam as well and we did a lot of work on the NHSD GP IT F project.

In September, which was probably the busiest month this year I visited Lincoln to finalise the coolDC design and build CEEDA award which also saw success at the DCD Global Awards winning the...

closely followed by a visit to Valencia to visit another DC for a CEEDA assessment, another GOLD and a visit to another one of their facilities is scheduled for Q1/2 2020..

Mid month it was off to Manchester for the DCA Data Centre Retransformation event where we held our 2nd CATALYST project Green Data Centre - Stakeholder Group meeting and presented at the Main event on the CATALYST project per se.

The Ops Director was also on the NEBOSH Health and Safety Course, a pretty intensive health and safety course on behalf on an existing client, she followed this up with a visit to their site for a review (required for the assessment part of the course).

I also spoke at Solar and Storage Live about ICT energy and DC's with Tim Chambers and Emma Fryer from coolDC and techUK respectively.

The week after was my epic euro tour where I visited 4 countries in 10 days, first to Amsterdam for a Green IT Amsterdam participants meeting, then an epic railway journey to Copenhagen to speak at DCF, then another train to Stockholm to assist with the Green IT Amsterdam study trip for Dutch Authorities (they guys responsible for DC planning approvals (you may recall that Amsterdam is on a DC construction ban at the present time!) Finally, a quick flight to Brussels for the CATALYST project preparation and EU review meeting (we passed!) my last train journey was back to London for a BSI TCT7/3/1 meeting.

We always tend to schedule the EUCOC Annual Best Practices meeting around this time of year, and this year it was scheduled for early October, this was followed by a visit to London for IP expo

November is conference season, 3 this year!, the month started with the DCD Converged event at London's Old Billingsgate, our MD had 2 speaking engagements the first to promote a new modular UPS solution and the 2nd on the first 10 yrs of the CEEDA programme.
Our ISO50001 client decided to amend the process and concentrate on their ESOS qualification due to some internal issues, this was completed in Dec (before the due date). We've completed all the policies, processes and procedures and review where we go from here in the new year.
Our MD had to leave early from DCD London and make his way to Amsterdam to speak at the DC Innovation Day organised by Mercer and Saval, followed by a Green IT Amsterdam team meeting, the following week was all about CATALYST.

The week after I made my way over to Dublin for Data Centres Ireland where had arranged the "heat" track, part of our CATALYST work followed by the 3rd Green Data Centres - Stakeholder Group meeting.

The following week we attended Data Center Forum in Stockholm, where our MD both ran a room, and delivered another presentation on CATALYST.

December is nearly always quite quiet, but I love going to the DCD Awards, and this year was excellent, I was very pleased 2 projects we've been involved get the recognition they deserve (see above).
This was followed by a visit to the Birmingham City University to begin preparations for a new Data Centre Module to be included in the Computing and Networking degrees, we are very honoured to be part of this project. It starts in January and we do have an option for a limited amount of "industry experts" to join us both as guest lecturers on specific subjects, we'll be in touch but please contact us on the email below if you'd like to join, and for some people who may work in the industry on specific areas and want to get an overall picture, a data centre 101 as it were, as well, again get in touch, but this will be extremely limited.

We then went to Amsterdam to meet with two clients as part of our work with Green IT Amsterdam and picked up 3 new pieces of work!

We also had a call with a potential partner on a new H2020 project, more on that in the new year.

As I stated earlier, we think 2020 is going to be very interesting indeed and as we have no idea as how its all going to pan out POLITICALLY, we're going to keep our powder dry for the time being.

But, that said, we will continue to offer the following services:

EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres Review and Preparation
CEEDA assessements (with our DCD partners)
ISO Management Systems for ISO9001/14001/22301/27001 and 50001
Data Centre Audits (with our M and E partners)
Data Centre Training (on site, and tailored to your requirements)
Data Centre Support Services - Compliance
Health and Safety Services

Special Services, if you have a problem that needs solving, let us know, through our wide network of consultants, supply chains and operators we've probably come across the problem before and therefore may be able to help

So far, we already have a number of assigments scheduled for Q1/2/3 and 4, but we'll always find time and space to add some more.

Finally, we'd like to wish all our customers, suppliers and industry collegues the very best wishes for 2020

PS Last year we said that our next blog post will be the 4th in our series "Air v Liquid" this, ahem, was delayed and we hope that this article will be on the cost side of things scheduled to be published early in the new year, honest!

As always, until next time.

If you need to get in touch with us, please use the following:
@carbon3it (Twitter/Skype)