Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Climate Change Agreement - Data Centres

It was hidden in the recent Autumn statement from the UK chancellor but it seems that a CCA is a done deal!

We've known about the possibility for a Climate Change Agreement for Data Centres for quite a while now, as we've been party to a number of events and updates from techUK (Formally Intellect).

My view was that it was going to be a very hard sell if not impossible to get the Treasury to sign up to, as unlike other industry CCA's and there are a 54 of them, a data centre cannot be "assessed" on the required production metric, therefore it is very difficult to quantify actual savings especially if the data centre is growing (as many of them are, due partly to Cloud services) but fair play to techUK and in particular Emma Fryer who it seems has managed to get Treasury on board and the agreement is scheduled to be in place prior to the end of the year.

I was reminded of my "impossible" statement by some illustrious  members of the industry at the EUCOC update meeting yesterday and was advised that I would have been up for some good natured ribbing if I had gone public, which I hadn't until now.

More info on CCA's can be found here and here

One of the reasons I had said that it may prove impossible was that a) Treasury would not really understand what data centres are all about, and that b) the reporting system for data centres signed up to the scheme would prove to be unpalatable in terms on the information required and how to actually achieve the required sector target savings.

Well the first hurdle has been overcome, and that is the Treasury, but perhaps the most important and hardest hurdles are yet to be seen let alone overcome.

I've no doubt that there will be some horsetrading over the exact requirements of the scheme and who and who cant sign up (we understand that it is just wholesale i.e. Colo and Hosting Sites that will be included for the time being) but I cant help thinking that whatever is required there will be a sting in the tail that is quite unintended.

We'll keep you all up to date on anything we hear via our social media and website

EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres Update 9th December

I was going to put this update in with a blog about the Climate Change Agreement mooted for the UK data centre industry but I have decided that the CCA deserves a blog posting all my itself, so we'll be concentrating on the EUCOC.
The EUCOC is a dynamic code, it moves with the industry, it includes the industry in its thinking and for that reason it is a very valuable tool. When I teach the BCS Intermediate Certificate in the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres I stress that participants and endorsers get the opportunity once a year to discuss what should come out, what should go in and how we move forward with it, I also underline that it is a vendor independent code, written by the industry for the industry.
The code is truly independent, the best practices are there for anyone to use, without a licence fee.
If you want to be become a participant to the EUCOC and use the badge, then you will have to sign up, fill out the spread-sheet and submit information for review by an external assessor, none of your information is ever referable back to you and if published the information is anonyomised (sp?)
So, this year the meeting was in Brussels, attended by approximately 30 people a mixture of endorsers, participants and staff to discuss section 10 and 11 which are respectively the best practices that are likely to be included in the next iteration of the code and those that are on our watchlist, pending inclusion should they become viable such as software efficiency metrics or AC/DC converters etc.
We have made some changes and we hope to get the next revision out for use in March 2014, as the code is dynamic a lot of changes need to be made to the back end as it were to keep everything tidy and this is why is can take some time to get the information out.

If you have any further queries on the code or indeed how you can sign up please visit the code website here
You can find a list of the code documents, participants and endorsers but if you need any further help, please drop us a line at info@carbon3it.com with EUCOC in the subject line and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.

Next blog will be about the UK Climate Change Agreement for Data Centres mentioned in the Autumn Statement on the 5th December 2013

Mauritius 2 - The Return - Rain

Now I've seen rain and I've seen rain, but I've never seen so much rain that the drains decide not to work.
Mauritius is quite a rainy place actually, and it all tends to come in a few days so the effects can be quite severe. Earlier this year 11 people lost their lives in a flash flood caused by debris left during the construction of the new ring road holding back storm water until it burst and ran down the mountain.
The British built some hefty drainage systems in the 19th Century but as the population has grown and more space used for housing this has proved to be inadequate for today's urban landscape.
Normally, a thin trickle of water can be seen in the canals (that's what the storm water drains are called) making its way towards the sea, but just a few minutes after it rains, the canals can become raging torrents of rusty brown water enough to sweep anything and anyone down towards the sea.
And its not as if they are not deep enough, they must be at least 2m deep and 5-6 meters wide, so that's a lot of water.
Many people I spoke to very scathing about the lack of water management on the island and said that the Government should do more to capture the water and use it, that is not a debate I want to get into but there are options to use this precious resource.

Next update, probably later today will be the EUCOC update meeting held in Brussels on the 9th December and some of the actions arising from it.
We'll also be making a statement about the mooted CCA for the UK data centre industry and what this could mean moving forward.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Mauritius 2 The Return - Infotech Launch Party and the Show itself

The Launch Party

Right, cufflinks purchased and many mosquito bites later I was picked up at Mon Choix by Riad and off we went to attend the INFOTECH Launch party in the presence of the Minister of ICT, the Chair of the NCB and the Executive Director, plus around 300 various company directors, staff and other notables including my good self.
I won't bore you with the details of each speech, but each of the 3 began with the usual introductions and pleasantries that went on for about 5 minutes finally culminating with "Ladies and Gentlemen" and then to the main thrust of the speech.
I was very pleasantly surprised that Green IT was given a high priority with mention of myself and the companies we were representing and even more surprised and taken aback that the media wanted to interview me for both print and TV (I'm a bit of a celebrity on Mauritian TV don't you know ;o)

After the hour long opening ceremony, we were shown two short videos detailing the rise of ICT as a mainstay of the economy and in such a short time, and a history of the event itself, it was the 20th Edition!
Then, it was time for the Minister to visit each stand, after about 25 mins he came around to our stand and I gave him a briefing on ICEOTOPE, the liquid cooled server solution, re-iterated that the technology was well suited to hot and humid environments and that we would probably....oh sorry cant tell you the rest, its classified!
Anyway, now that the minister has visited the stand we were able to go and enjoy a few drinks and nibbles.

The Show

The show included a number of shops with show discounts, the NCB with their huge stand, advising about things such as the Green IT strategy, the jobs fair, a number of companies looking for staff for BPO and call centre operations, and of course ourselves.
We had a lot of visitors over the duration of the show, the biggest draw was the liquid cooled server solution as of course this will lead to lower capex costs in construction of the data centre and because there is no mechanical cooling, lower opex cost because you dont have to pay for the energy used by the mechanical cooling solution, win win.
The show became extremely busy over the weekend, when more people come with their families, this is when we had our most visitors as some of the main IT people on the island cant make it during the week due to work commitments, but can at the weekend.

Overall we had about 30 direct inquires regarding ICEOTOPE and we have now followed up with the majority of them (if you attended the event. but have not had an email from us with the ICEOTOPE information, please drop me a line and I'll get it to you within 24 hours (we're like that you see, we like to communicate!))

Our plans

If some of our plans come to fruition, i.e. regarding our island base, we'll be back in March or April, and we'll definitely be back in May as we have another event to attend. We obviously cant reveal our plans as yet, but as always you'll hear about them here and our social media feeds first.

Next time we'll be talking about the rains and the floods in the Vallee Des Pretes last week.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Mauritius 2 - The Return - Cufflinks

So, the cufflinks, well there is a vast mall on Mauritius located just up the hill from Paillies and about 3 miles from Port Louis on the way to the highlands, here there are European restaurants, such as KFC, Burger King etc and the usual array of shops for tourists. To be fair it is a lovely venue, but I would prefer to barter with the locals down in the central market or chow down on birani or other local delicacies for a quarter of the cost.
I needed a new pair of cufflinks as mysteriously mine had disappeared, well actually probably more mislaid.
So I went in armed with my limited French and asked, no gestured, that I needed cufflinks, scrub that, I asked if she could speak English, she could and she directed me to their "sister shop" over the way.
I like cufflinks, I prefer them over buttons as they seem to be a little looser around the hands, but I like a certain classic style, rather than modern designs, and unfortunately what were presented to me were all of a modern design and manufactured of steel with goldy bits and more importantly priced at R2500+, £50 upwards. I don't like to spend too much money on small items so I passed saying "I'll have a look around the mall to see if there is anything I like, if not I'll be back".
Just across the way there was a shirt shop, knowing that in the UK shirt shops usually have cufflinks, off I went, and there was the most red stripy set of cufflinks now I like Red, and these were perfect and would certainly go with the one tie I had brought with me, price? R750 or £15, thank you very much sir I'll be having them.
Back into my black cab for the trip back to the Vallee Des Pretres for a sleep and wash up later for the Launch Party at the SVICC.
The cab journey was fairly uneventful, until later I realised that I'd been bitten by one gang of hungry mossies, 30 bites in total , much pain and scratching later.
Anyway, quite tired today as I have been out to Tricolet in the north to see a set of apartments my fried Riad and his family have constructed for the tourist trade (more on that later) so the next installment will be about the Launch Party and first day of the INFOTECH 2013 event.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mauritius 2 - The Return - Customs

Where were we? Oh yes, so all my show materials are stuck in customs and I have to get them out, so off to the hosts office where after a fair few hours a cheque was raised as a guarantee that the goods were not going to be sold in Mauritius and were in fact going to be re-exported.
So off we went back to the airport, now we have to remember that this is Mauritius, a beautiful country and lovely friendly people but bedeviled with endless paperwork and bureaucracy.
My stuff was in Customs and to get to customs which is "airside" I needed a pass, so I went to the pass office and obtained same, then we wait, we wait, and we wait, then chap from office asks me to return pass but leave's me with the slip that issued the pass duly cancelled, then I go through to Customs !!!
Anyway, now in Customs I speak to the same guy that detained my stuff yesterday and he looked at me and said "yesterday you speak English today you speak French, why did you not speak French yesterday?" Now, dear readers, "Moi francais est pou", but I can understand enough to say "hello, goodbye, thank you, ok, and can I have three beers please", obviously I had tapped hidden depths to extract "Good Day, can I have my stuff back please? OK?
The cheque safely deposited in their safe, my stuff was released and off we go to the conference centre, where it was my intention to set up the stand (probably take no longer than 30mins) but whilst the stand was built, others had not, and i was not going to leave my kit there, back to Mon Choix it was then!
The next day I went to site, set up the stand, sorted out the tables and tablecloths, pulled up the pop ups and raised the banner, opened the z display unit and generally got stuff ready, then I wait.
And I wait, then I decide that I can no longer wait and sorted out a taxi, imagine my surprise when a London black cab turns up, brand spanking new as well, (Made in Coventry). Off we go to Bagatelle (shopping centre to get some cufflinks (left mine at home), but thats another story and it will be told later!.
Off to continue with some work and then its off out to the supermarket to get some supplies in.

Until next time... 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Mauritius 2 - The Return - The Trouble with Customs is....

It seems that I have a small problem every time I come to this beautiful island in the SWIO.
Readers will recall that the first time I came, back in May, that I did not have the full address of where I was staying, this resulted in what can only be called an adventure. First of all I was taken by the immigration officer through the customs post (much to the annoyance of the customs officer) and out into the passenger concourse to meet with my taxi driver to obtain the address, we returned having obtained said address to complete my entry formalities only for the customs officer to berate the immigration officer for letting me through without the usual checks, anyway dispute settled I got my entry visa and made my way to baggage collection.
On espying me, now with luggage, the same customs officer directed me for further baggage checks (I was carrying 300 USB sticks with the training materials, I was fearful that these could be detained).
A new customs officer told me to put my bag through an X-ray scanner, and of course the sticks were picked up, he asked to see them and I was thinking "here we go, these are going to result in a huge wad of customs duty or detainment) I showed them to him and he just smiled and said "Welcome to Mauritius" phew.
I arrived at the airport after a very long and tiring journey, and that is another story, but it needs to be told so.
I'd flown with Emirates and was seated next to a French woman and a Belgian woman, well it was a disaster from start to finish, first of all I accidentally spilled a full glass of Bacardi and Coke down my trousers, duly mopped up, dinner arrived, quite nice, in fact I'd recommend Emirates economy for any long distance air travel, much better than other airlines, however I digress.
After dinner coffee was taken and yes, it too ended up in my lap, much to the amusement of the women sitting next to me, an icy glare from me soon stopped the laughing, so nuts roasted and damp the rest of the journey was completed with a frosty atmosphere.
We arrived and this time, immigration was completed without any hitch but...
When I went down to collect my luggage, I discovered that one of the cases was encased in a plastic sack, because it had been thrown with such force that the hinges and side panels were completed destroyed.
So, off to baggage handling to find out what had happened, no explanation was forthcoming, but I was offered full replacement cost price as compensation, this I agreed to, the princely sum of R1150 (about £25)
This took about 30 mins to process and then it was off to Customs.
I took the red aisle as I was carrying commercial goods, and had been advised that everything had been arranged with the Prime Minsters office to allow me and my equipment in to Mauritius without any problems, how wrong I was.
Apparently, no such communication had been relayed to the MRA (Customs) and yes you've guessed it, everything except my personal items were detained pending a guarantee and a letter from my hosts, this despite my host being present at the airport and summoned to assist.
Off we went to my accommodation and we'd sort everything out the next day.
I arrived at Mon Choix, where I had stayed before to be met with a very welcome glass of Joan's rum punch and a very nice steak dinner.
And so to bed, the next installment of this saga will be written later tonight, but for now I must away to pick up my exhibition materials and to deliver the prize to the winner (more on that later!)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Brighttalk Answers & Review of the Week

First of all I am going to list some of the questions posted on my brighttalk webinar earlier today, then review the week (hence the title) and perhaps add a few lines about next week.

Ok, there was a question about training on energy efficiency in the DC environment, Carbon3IT Ltd does have a training department and we offer bespoke training to organisations, if you want to know more about our training offerings, please email info@carbon3it.com and we'll get back to you with the information.

Secondly, there was a question about how to get executive buy in to undertake energy efficiency measures and more importantly budget. I feel that imparting the threat of energy prices rises in the EU and additional regulatory pressure or if you plan to try and sell cloud or data centres services into public sector you'll need to have and prove energy efficiency, there are considerable savings to be had by adopting the EUCOC or GGMM. We can provide an executive one day or morning/afternoon briefing to cover these, OR engage with you on a consultancy basis to assist you in applying for the code or just for general energy efficiency options through our Greenprint product, again use info@carbon3it.com to get some information.

Thirdly the question about DCIM and interoperability, as Julius said go down a TCP/IP route or if you still have MODBUS connectivity use that, my preferred option would be to use wireless systems for the M&E plant and a system that uses IPMI from the servers themselves. However, there are many DCIM system providers out there and you should hear what they have go to say about how their systems work, and more importantly how much disruption they could cause whilst installing the system, basically get them to write a implementation plan.

Lastly, a question about energy efficiency being a shared responsibility between the company and the data centre, good question, personally I believe yes, it show be so, but this can only happen if the data centre has visibility of the energy bill and that there is a combined IT/Facilities management team. It is the first and in my opinion the most important of all the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) best practices.

Now onto a review of the week, so far.
Monday I attended a BSI standards conference, very interesting stuff and I am very please to be a part of the committee, I feel that there is a lot I can input.
Tuesday and Wednesday I was attending and spoke at the Teleco Energy and Infrastructure event, this was a very interesting couple of days, I met some great people and hopefully we'll be seeing more of some of them.
Today I made a site visit to a client to review a cold aisle configuration problem and hopefully we will have some excellent data in a few weeks from the array of temp sensors that were installed, more on this later.

Next week, I'll be in Mauritius, as previously mentioned we'll be attending the INFOTECH event, its been a very busy few weeks for my support team Rachel and Claire, who have been preparing leaflets, organising copy, picking stuff up, preparing and sending press releases out on our behalf and we'll be taking some photos and updating via twitter and our facebook pages.

This does of course mean that I'll be missing the DCD converged event at the EXCEL arena next week, this will be the first time in 3 years that I will not be around but I am sure that if you have any questions on BCS CEEDA, David Carter and Nick Morris will be able to help you, just ask for them by name at the DCD admin desk and they'll sort you out.

I shall be working for the first week and following up on various projects during the second week, so I will not be sunning myself, although I may come back with a tan.

Until next time...

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The "RedEye"

Phew, what a week!
Last Tuesday I was in London for the BCS Green IT Specialist Group AGM, followed by the "Is a digital Britain, a greener Britain?" debate, between Prof Ian Bitterlin and I.
Not having had the time to prepare a really crisp presentation, the outcome was always going to be in Ian's favour, he does after all do this sort of stuff semi professionally.
I was also voted in by my fellow members to be Vice Chair, this is a job that I hope I'll be able to contribute more to the running of the group, especially to update the various professional qualifications we have worked on previously and to develop some exciting new certifications.
I'll be providing some updates via this blog and as always we'll provide links back to any information we feel is relevant.
This was followed by refreshments and then a dash to Euston to catch the Caledonian Sleeper, the late night train service to Scotland, where over the following two days I was to conduct a BCS CEEDA assessment.
The assessments went very well indeed, but the actual results are still to be announced and we'll keep you informed when they have been finalised.

We've also added a new product to our G-Cloud portfolio, it is "ISI Snapshot",ISI Snapshot is an Inventory Management Tool, it allows organisations to compile an accurate map of all ICT assets across their estates. Snapshot is an agentless, non-invasive, read-only discovery and inventory application with integrated data repository and collection libraries designed to provide and complete view of physical, virtual and cloud IT infrastructures. • Provides in-depth configuration and utilisation data for network attached IT infrastructure devices and their components (hardware and software). • Uses credentials and read-only O/S level commands to collect data (no foreign code is installed on the target host/device nor is anything written or cached there). • Integrated data repository, reporting, analysis and visualization tools with export functionality for common desktop environments. • Snapshot has never taken down a server or application or had an adverse effect on the network infrastructure.
If you're a Government customer you can find it on the G Cloud ISI Snapshot on the G Cloud.
And you can find out even more information on their website www.isiisi.com

Carbon3IT Ltd is working with ISI Europe Ltd to promote Snapshot across the EU.

On other matters, our trip to Mauritius to attend Infotech 2013 suffered a slight hitch when one of our intended partners pulled out, we don't have a problem with this, but we do think that it will prove to be a missed opportunity for them, we'll still promote their product line though.
Our stand space has been booked and you can find it here Our Stand we've been allocated C31.

Next week I shall be in London to present at a private function on the use of the design criteria within the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres to design and build energy efficient Telecoms network infrastructure, I shall also be going to Cambridge to visit a CEEDA client, followed by another visit the next day to another potential client requesting some assistance with the EUCOC.
That particular meeting has been arranged as a joint visit with one of our partners and will culminate later in the day with the first ever "UK Building Energy Management Interest Group", this is an invitation only event and I whilst not speaking will be in attendance.

The week after I shall be speaking at the Telco Energy & Infrastructure Efficiency Event and I have to complete my presentation this weekend, so I'll call a halt to proceedings there, until next time.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

October Update

Sorry, been very busy of late and haven't been able to blog. Today is the first time I've been able to just sit down and think about things.
So, the update, sine my last blog post we had a number of BCS CEEDA discovery calls with clients to take them through the assessment process, and I shall be in Scotland next week to assess 2 data centres, these facilities are going through their second assessment, so hopefully we'll see some improvement.
We've also been working on the development of the CEEDA product line, and there will be a launch of these products soon.

We've made a number of client visits to the Telco provider and I'll be able to update you on this shortly, we have a meeting scheduled in two weeks to go through the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) with the company's design teams, that will be an interesting few hours!

We've also attended a few meetings and seminars as follows: The CoolEmAll project, where we provide commercial advice, the Green Grid EMEA forum in Brussels, The Green IT Consortium in Amsterdam, long standing colleagues and an opportunity to work with them on a EU Funded project, and a Passport to Export seminar with the UKTI (more on that later)

We're also on 2 standards bodies, the first is our own BSI IST/46 where I shall be representing the BCS, and the second is the NSF ELSS which is Energy Star server products where I am representing Carbon3IT Ltd, both are seeking to push the boundaries for the use of environmentally sustainable components, techniques and services to reduce ICT energy consumption. There are a number of meetings scheduled over the next few weeks.

Next week I shall in be in London for the BCS Green IT SG AGM, and then taking the sleeper up to Glasgow, CEEDA assessment the next 2 days and flying back to Birmingham in the evening of the 31st (hope we don't see any flying Halloween beasties!)

The week after I have meetings with another CEEDA client and the Buildings Energy Efficiency forum.

The week after I shall be speaking at the Telco Energy and Infrastructure Efficiency event in London, followed by a webinar on the same subject.

The week after we'll be in Mauritius, promoting Green IT products at the INFOTECH 2013 event and catching up with some of our friends from the NCB and meeting potential clients.

We'll be returning to the UK on the 2nd December, then there's a quick trip to Brussels for the EUCOC Best Practices meeting.

Carbon3IT Ltd will be closed from the 23rd December to the 3rd January 2014.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Things are moving quickly!

Its been over a month since my last update so now is a good time to let you know about some of the things we've been doing.

1. Contract Wins

We've secured 3 project wins this month, the first is for a major global co-lo and telecoms provider. We are helping them with their EU Code of Conduct participant application for 10 sites initially in the EMEA region with a view to move onto other formally assessed accreditation's and perhaps ISO50001 in the future, we'll come back to ISO50001 later.
The second win is something we've been working on for some time, and we'll be able to provide more details on this in future blog postings as some of the details are still under consideration.
The third win is also something we'll be able to tell you about next week, once we've held our planning meeting.

2. Training Courses
I attended the ISO 50001 Lead Auditor training course last week, this is something we've been considering for some time now to supplement our other assessment services.

3. Standards
I was invited and have accepted becoming a member of the Joint Committee for Environmental Leadership for Servers run by the NSF in the USA. You may also know this as the EPEAT server standard, more information about the new standard can be found on this link Server Standard

I've been informed that the GHG Protocol ICT sector guidance will be undergoing its final consultation before Christmas, and we'll be providing some input via the BCS Green IT SG.

4. Events

I attended the "Campus Party on the 3rd September.
I attended the Energy Show at the NEC on the 11th September.

On Tuesday 24th, I attended a Computing magazine "Data Centre Summit" at the Hilton London Bridge and later the IET sustainability event held at the Royal Institute (yes the Royal Institute of the Christmas Lectures!)
Yesterday I attended the Data Centre Alliance PEDCA scoping event in Tower Bridge, more information can be found on this link PEDCA.

5. Recruitment
We've employed our first two employees, the first is the our new admin and quality manager and we have also recruited a researcher, to assist in general research, admin and job scheduling. Other positions will be advised shortly

6. Short Term Plans

Our website is going to get an upgrade, some of this is due to the contract wins listed above and some of it because we need to have some additional pages added and a content change, so keep an eye on Carbon3IT Ltd

Our social media feeds will also be getting a bit of a make over to align with the changes to the website.

So, all in all a busy few weeks, but a culmination of some hard work put it over the past three months, we 'll be making a proper announcement of our future plans soon.

Until next time...

Friday, 23 August 2013

Green Fatigue - An open blogletter to Andrew Fryer and Peter Judge

An open letter to Peter Judge and Andrew Fryer

Morning Guys,

I'll come on to the video later but I would like to dissect the following article from Andrew's blog post on techweek europe dated the 22nd August the actual link is here Green Fatigue and reproduced below with my comments in italics.

I recently got asked to do an interview on  for TechWeek Europe about green initiatives in the IT industry. However let’s be honest, computers burn a lot of power, require a lot of power to make and are made of some nasty exotic compounds and chemicals, so they aren’t going to save the planet by themselves.

No, this is true, but its what they can do that is the real game-changer, think of green IT as a platform, a road if you will, to allow the greening of the supply chain in all areas of life, logistics, energy, smart grids etc, all will requires compute.

However a few years back everyone was talking about Green IT, and more properly sustainable IT, and while that topic is no longer trending, we don’t seem to have done anything about it and Green Fatigue has set in across IT .

Green Fatigue has NOT set in across IT, it is more that the large corporates look to the tech companies to provide them with solutions and they, the tech co's are only interested in revenue for server/desktop/application sales and do not have the capability to look holistically across the systems.
Its called "Green IT by default" and it assumes that the technology companies will embed greenness throughout their sales process.
Another problem is the silo mentality of large corporates, servers there, desktops here, networking over there, and storage in the cupboard at the back, how on earth can you implement a "green IT system, when you have competing silo's, this in my opinion is the fault of the senior management teams not willing to really look at Green IT.
Perhaps it is too difficult for them, if so , move over and let some real professionals take charge.

There is a very clear pathway to becoming green in the ICT sector, but it involves a radical analysis and change process, something IT doesn't do very well as all.
So, how to rectify? This requires an education process, something we do as independent consultants, we explain concepts and technologies rather than silo's and products, we look down from a high level and in all honesty, the implementation of proper Green IT in an organisation is going to be difficult and challenging.

Looking at what has been happening in the data centre then good work has been done, but not in the name of green IT. For example server consolidation has meant physical servers are better utilised now; they are typically running 10+ VMs each rather than idling at 10%.

Visualization is a recognised Green IT action

We have also got better at cooling those servers, but this has sometimes been driven not by a green initiative but because of the cost of power and the capacity available from the power supplier in a particular location.

No, it is a green initiative, but its not a green IT initiative, its because cooling and power is in the realm of facilities managers not IT managers, there needs to be collaboration between the two departments, some corporate IT organisations have merged facilities and IT but only in the data centre area, most co-location and hosting companies recognise that the two departments need to be co-located, some even have professionals with skills in both IT and M&E.

Later versions of virtualisation technologies always make best use of the latest hardware but swapping out server hardware to get the benefits of the latest CPU or networking has to be balanced against the cost of making the new server and disposing of the old one, so you’ll want to focus on how you can extend the life of your servers possibly by just upgrading the software.

This is the technology companies fault, stop enhancing the server platform so frequently then, most servers just need to do what it says on the tin, they don't need to be ever faster or process larger amounts of data every two years, you wouldn't upgrade a car this often. Perhaps the industry needs to re-evaluate its business model.

Virtualisation by itself can also cause more problems for the environment than it solves because while you  have achieved some consolidations you may well end up with a lot more VMs that aren’t doing much useful work.  Effective management of those VMs is the key to efficiency for example:
  • Elimination of  Virtual Machine sprawl.  Typically this shows itself as a spread of numerous dev and test environments, and the only way I can think of to check this over use of resources is to charge the consumer for them on the basis of what they have committed to use so chargeback or at least showback.
  • Dynamically optimising a workloads based on demand – Reducing the capacity of low priority under used services or stopping them altogether to free up resources for busy services without needing more hardware.  
  • Extreme Automation to reduce the number of IT guys per VM, these reduces the footprint per VM as each member of IT uses energy to do their work and often has to travel to work so if this can be distributed across more VMs than that is more efficient.
Its called "server creep" and its the management of the IT estate and the data centre that is at issue here, I don't know if that's a green IT thing, but its certainly a management thing.
These three things are actually all key characteristics of clouds so my assertion is that cloud computing is more environmentally efficient, without necessarily being Green IT per se.  Given the fact that public clouds operate at much greater scale and efficiencies than what is possible in many internal data centres1 plus they are often located specifically to take account favourable environmental conditions all of which means they are greener than running services in house.

 Aha, now the real thrust of the Microsoft evangelist, selling cloud services, the "greenness of the cloud" is a much cited concept, and you know I really really want to believe it, but its simply not true, perhaps some of cloud data centres are greener, but greener than what exactly?, this report The Environmental Benefits of Moving to the Cloud.is riddled with caveats and assumptions and does not take into account the network energy (although some would say that this is so small as to be not worth considering), but just looking at the CRC table for the UK indicates that BT is the 3rd largest emitter of CO2, and that in the top 100, ten data centre companies feature.

The takeup of cloud is not as assured as you might think, there are plenty of organisations who have cloud trials underway, and invariably security, and cost concerns, yes the cost of cloud servers gets larger over time compared to in house facilities are swaying the result, after all if you put all your eggs in one cloudy basket, how many IT staff do you need in house?

So we are getting greener, it’s just we don’t call it that, and no doubt no that we are fed up with the word cloud as applied to IT we’ll change that to something else as well. 

We are mostly NOT getting greener, Jeavons paradox sees to that, but in certain quarters we are getting more efficient, there is still a lot more work to be done, and may I say it needs a more radical approach to the problem than what we are getting from the tech companies now.

Now to the video...

Andrew says that audiences turn off when he mentions "Green IT", and start to fidget, oh dear, perhaps he needs to enhance his presenting skills, when I present about Green IT I have the audience eating out of the palm of my hand, perhaps this is due to the fact that I'm not selling anything, except the notion that ICT can help reduce the impacts of climate change.

Cloud Computing is a new name for Green IT, WHAT?  get out of here Andrew, cloud computing is not Green IT, it is however a small part of a Green IT system.

Then he talks about cooling, raising the temperatures in the Data Centres, well the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) as well as other Global codes and guidance cover this in detail.

Then we have another veiled sales pitch, our data centres are located in the same place as Google and Amazon, so we're all green together, ahem, perhaps the greenest data centre is one that uses renewable energy, liquid cooling or the latest low energy, low heat ARM chips and can be located anywhere on the planet.

Now I'm sure Andrew means well, but in all honestly Techweek should be looking a bit wider if it wants so real intel on Green IT and where it is going.

Green IT is alive and kicking and it most certainly is not suffering from tiredness, it just needs to become a bit more market savvy and educate the people as to what it is, and how it can do it.

We'll be presenting our views in the BCS Green IT SG debate on the 29th October 2013 in London, the debate "Is a digital Britain, a greener Britain" will be proposed by myself and opposed by the stalwart Dr Ian Bitterlin, tickets and further details will be advised closer to the date.

Andrew/Peter, you are both cordially invited to attend and to put your views across.

And I'm available for interview at any time.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A low carbon ICT strategy

We first wrote our Low Carbon ICT strategy back in 2011, but we've recently had cause to bring it out, dust it off and see if anything has changed, well the good news is no, we've not had to change anything, so we've re-issued it to our local enterprise partnership here in the UK to see if we can access any ERDF funding to make the strategy happen at a high priority level with local government and the bigger private sector organisations.

The strategy is as follows:

"To reduce the energy consumption of ICT of local government and enterprises within the defined area"

Some of our tactics will be as follows:

1. Reduce the amount of energy used by devices (desktops, laptops, tablets etc)

We will do this via the use of PC power management software.


Our Strategy should be to promote the use of these products in all organisations.This may be achieved through the use of ERDF funding on a 50/50 basis matched funding (subject to the project definition)

2. To reduce the amount of energy used in data centre environments

We will do this through the use the use of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) best practices and other energy optimisation techniques from other global organisations.

"Our Strategy should be to require PUE’s of 1.5 or less before 2020 for new facilities and for existing facilities to be 2 or less by 2020. This can be implemented by the use of planning laws, as is the case in the City of Amsterdam where DC new build is required to have a PUE of 1.2 or less."

Again, we will explore the use of various funding programmes to ascertain whether matched funding or grants would be available to implement the best practices.

3. To reduce, through the use of "reuse, reduce, recycle" the amount of e-waste within the LEP area.

"Our strategy will develop research programmes with our University partners for the recycling of components and materials for reuse, with a view to build a national computer recycling centre within the LEP geographic area"

4. To implement IT Governance into organisations within the LEP region.


Our strategy should be to promote a framework of IT Governance adaptable to all organisations big or small with an emphasis on sustainable and low carbon concepts.

There is a lot more detail specifically for the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP region in the strategy, but it can be tailored for your specific region, if you'd like a copy send an email to info@carbon3it.com and we'll send you one.

Go Green, it makes sense!