Tuesday 22 March 2011

Smart Metering Data Centres

I note that IBM annouced a tie up with C&W for an assault on the Government's smart metering programme.
The Government has announced that it wants all domestic electricity supply meters to be "smart" by 2020.

This means that in effect, every home will need a new broadband connection, smart metering equipment will be installed and linked to the broadband, energy data will then be routed to a data centre (probably a cloud type solution).
Cost estimates for the project are reputed to be in the billions.

Personally, I think the large companies will try and persuade the Government to adopt a very expensive option, no doubt to try and recoup some of the money and contracts lost by the move to the G-Cloud and the use of open source software, its not going to work!

Carbon3IT will be looking at some alternative options and as always this blog will be the first place to look at.

Todays thoughts on the Cloud!

Just been reading this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12779201

Theres a few things in there to think about, the first is this statement "Shifting the computing workload to a cloud provider is more efficient. Companies like Rackspace or Amazon run their cloud servers at 75% or even 90% of capacity. That's both greener and cheaper." Well, I think they need to clarify this statement, sure Amazon do run their servers at 75-90% capacity but what does that mean, does it mean that the processor is running at 75-90% of capacity?, does it mean that the memory is being used at 75-90% of its capacity or does it means that the disks are running at 75-90% of capacity, and as for being greener and cheaper, well we need to know "than what exactly?"

Non Cloud
Lets take a corporate user in an office, they are using a desktop, they need to access a service running on a server in the computer room in the basement. the actual pathway looks a bit like this:

Desktop - Local Switch - Core Switch - Server* - Service
* There may be more than one server to route through dependent on authorisation protocols


Desktop - Local Switch - Core Switch - Server - Internet Access Server - Internet Routers* - Internet Core Router - Local Switch - Server - Service

* There may be more than one internet router dependant on where the service located (unlikely to be more than 9 though)
Now, the switches in the path will be being used by more than one user, but this is the same in both examples, the server and services will also be used by more than one user.
As you can see the amount of equipment being used is a lot more in the cloud example than in the non cloud example, and in fact in both examples the corporate equipment is still being used.
So when the BBC state that the solution is greener and cheaper, are they taking into account the device being used to access the cloud service?, is it efficient? are they taking into account the corporate access device? are they taking into account the additional switches and routers required to access the service? Or, are they merely comparing the cost of the server/sevice element, sure it probably is greener and cheaper, but thats because its likely to be newer and therefore marginally more energy efficient over previous models but still in the 550w range, and cheaper because the cloud service supplier is working it hard, working something harder usually means that it breaks down quicker, ermmm.
Many Big Consultancies have published research on Cloud Computing and they usually nearly always state that the solution is greener, but look to the back pages and review the assumptions made, work it out using your own setup as a guide and ask the questions of the cloud supplier.

Finally, the closing paragraph is a quote from someone who wants to sell you cloud computing services "John Manley, in charge of cloud computing at HP Labs in the UK, says that "we are in the foothills of cloud computing and going towards Mount Everest".
I dont want to rain on John's Parade, but how many people have attempted to climb Everest and failed, many have died,  true most people who enter the cloud wont die, but they may be comitting professional suicide!

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Sea Level Rise!

Its funny, normally you'd expect a news article like this one
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12687272 to be fiercely debated but all seems quiet on the social media front.
I suppose that its because its not an immediate problem, and lets face it most of us living today will not suffer the consequences.
Anyway here at Carbon3IT Ltd we are concerned that sea level rise will happen quicker than we think and we've revamped out product portfolio, not because of sea level rise, but because we said that we would on a regular basis to include new and updated technology and services.

The Smart Meter Starter Kit is an economically-priced kit that allows you to monitor precise energy use in real time. Energy spend data can also optionally be accessed remotely using the Energy Manager suite of online reporting and analytics tools.

The kit includes three components: a highly-accurate single phase or three phase wireless smart meter; a wireless controller and Windows energy analysis software (Energy Manager Desktop).
  • The wall-mounted Smart Meter can measure up to 60A per phase and provides wireless feedback every 10 seconds about your exact power consumption and energy use. This allows you to monitor energy expenditure in real time and work out where you are spending money that perhaps you could save. Finished in a rugged plastic case with a simple three wire installation, the meter is fitted with an LCD display showing your energy use, instantaneous power consumption and status of the wireless network connection to the controller. Utilising the latest in Zigbee wireless technology, the meter has a wireless range of up to 50m from the controller and the can work through walls and ceilings.
  • The Controller in the kit plugs into your network or router and sends information from the wireless Smart Meter to either Energy Manager Desktop (supplied) or Energy Manager Online (optional).
  • Energy Manager is an easy-to-use reporting system, designed to help highlight energy wastage, by presenting energy data in clear graphical format. Energy Manager Online offers further analytics options, including report generation and control features.
The Smart Meter Starter Kit can easily be extended, as its components also integrate wirelessly with the rest of the remote smart metering range. This includes the popular 5-socket smart strips, which can be used to monitor the real-time energy consumption of individual pieces of equipment, and the distribution board smart meters, which allow breakdowns of energy usage by circuit (e.g. to highlight expenditure in areas such as lighting, air conditioning and central IT).

Designed for both retrofit and new-build markets, the Smart Meter Starter Kit is simple to install and is your first step towards saving money on unnecessary energy bills.

The single phase kit is £399.99p +Vat

The three phase kit is £449.99p +Vat

Contact us today to order your energy monitoring starter kit and do you bit to stop sea level rise!

Friday 4 March 2011

Growing Green Energy Data

As some of you will be aware we demonstrated the Broadleaf PC at the event last week.
We were also demonstrating elements of the Enistic Energy Guardian product and we actually conducted some real time energy data test and assessments on ICT products.

Our Test configuration was as follows;

In the red corner, a 7/8 year old Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo T model with no monitor measured at 143w constant

In the blue corner, a brand new Very PC Ltd Broadleaf with a monitor - measured at .................wait for it..............no really wait for it........................55watts.
When we turned the monitor off, the Broadleaf measured between 19-25w.

This is a substantial saving over older larger models and if your organisation has 100's of PC's imagine how good you'd look if you replaced them with energy saving low carbon, carbon offset Very PC Broadleaf, saving thousands of pounds a year.
Not only would you be gaining through energy savings, but because of the footprint, many users will see a lot of more their desk, add to that the enhanced security measures such as the multicoloured and laser etched front fascia and its WIN WIN WIN.
Buy them through Carbon3IT Ltd, just drop us a line to arrange a demonstration of both the Broadleaf and the Energy Guardian on info@carbon3it.com or call us on 01926 843389.

The Energy Guardian configuration was 3x 5 way smart socket extension leads, providing energy data via the Zigbee radio system to a zone controller connected to a laptop with the Energy Guardian software installed upon it. If you would like any further information drop us a line.

Until next time, have a good weekend.

Friday 4th

I've been having computer problems all week, damned MS with their automatic updates.
Anyway, I attended a SWM event yesterday at The Bond, this is a venue on the Birmingham Eastside regeneration zone that is well worth a visit, its right on the canal and if walking from Moor Street Station the walk takes you past Birminghams Industrial past with workshops, warehouse and metal bashers all around and whilst its scheduled to be regenerated ! to be honest I'd leave it as it is a memorial to the "Workshop of the World"

The event was an update on how SWM and other interested parties (mostly LA's, LEP's etc with access to the "Growth Fund"), were going to stimulate the growth of a low carbon economy for the West Midlands, similar to the line trotted out by Prof Carl Chinn at the Growing Green Event last week.

The West Midlands is pushing to become the powerhouse for low carbon jobs and technology developments within the UK and to some extent Europe.

We are but cogs in a big machine, and if the machine doesn't know what its supposed to do and how its going to do it, I dont suppose that the cog in the middle will get much done.
This was something that was touched upon at the event, the problems identified (not in any order) leadership or the lack of it, constant change in funding streams from local government, confusion with national schemes, time taken to identify and win funding from the Carbon Trust etc. the amount of similar but ultimately confusing information from the literally hundreds of energy saving organisations and a lack of understanding (still) about why we need to do it.

On a sadder note, I shall be atttending another funeral on Monday, another cousin passed away in sad circumstances.

Have a good weekend.