Saturday 26 January 2013

Green Data Centres, how would you know?

Many data centres state that they are "Green" and sometimes use the dreaded PUE metric to support their claims, but what can you do to determine whether a data centre, colocation or hosting facility is "Green"?
Well, first off, a data centre is never going to be the greenest thing on the block, the inherent nature of them dictates otherwise, after all we talking about a building that houses IT equipment in a permanent state of readiness. Thus Data Centres normally have duplicate power, cooling and networks to provide us, the users a 24/7/365 technical environment in which to share, transmit and store data.
But, it is possible to reduce a Data Centre's energy consumption using a number of techniques, equipment and strategies available today and there are two accreditations you should look for if you plan to move your data centre into an external facility.
The first (within Europe, but becoming more widespread around the globe is the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres - Energy Efficiency) the EUCoC as it is known is a series of best practices that cover:

Section 3 - Data Centre Utilisation, Management & Planning.
Section 4 - IT Equipment & Services
Section 5 - Cooling
Section 6 - Data Centre Power Eqiupment
Section 7 - Other Data Centre Equipment
Section 8 - Data Centre Building
Section 9 -Monitoring
Section 10 - Practice to become minimum expected
Section 11 - Items under consideration

Any data centre can participate in the scheme, in fact many do implement and follow the best practices without becoming participants in the scheme, but if you do then you do need to commit to implementing as many of the best practices as you are able to in a three (3) year timeframe and to provide initial environmental and energy data with your application and then continue to provide this information in a yearly basis (monthly reporting).

More information on the scheme can be found EUCoC

So, ask your intended data centre supplier if they are participants in the EUCOC as then you will know that there are serious about being Green and using as less energy as they can.

But, even being a participant in the scheme is not the best you can get as it is a largely self assessed, and even with the best will in the world, some operators will commit to the programme and then decide not to proceed with the implementation due to financial or operational reasons, so what you really need is an independent external assessment of the facility that you can use as a decision point in your thinking.

There is only one global energy efficiency award programme currently operating today and it is the "Certified Energy Efficiency for Data Centres Award" known as CEEDA and you can find out more information here CEEDA
If a data centre has a CEEDA award of whatever level (they are assessed as Bronze, Silver or Gold) it means that an independent assessor has visited site and actually seen the best practices implemented in situ, spoken to senior management and has seen evidence that they are operating a very high standard of energy efficiency within the facility, this is then written up in a report that is then sent to an auditor who conducts a second review, only when the auditor is satisfied that a facility meets these high standard is an award granted.
The actual assessment is to a series of the EUCOC best practices covering all of the elements as listed above, further information on the criteria can be found on the CEEDA website.
Current CEEDA holders, include banks, retail, IT and educational organisations in the UK and Australia, and each week more and more companies seek CEEDA certification and are arranging to be assessed, make sure that your intended co location, hosting or Managed Service Provider has or is seeking to be accredited to a CEEDA and you can be sure that they are "Green"

PS, Carbon3IT Ltd provide assessment services to both the above schemes and are currently in conversation about the extension of both into the UK Government.
We feature on the UK G-Cloud for "Green IT" services including assistance with preparing for your EUCOC Application and PRE-CEEDA, A review to ensure you get as high an award as is possible prior to your assessment.
Much more information can be found on our website, our social media feeds, search for @Carbon3IT on twitter and our facebook/linked in pages.
We also in the final stages of providing workshops on how to complete your EUCOC application, these will be held in London and Manchester in March & April 2013, these will be limited to 10 delegates for session initially and further information will appear on this site and our social media feeds.
Contact us on for more information and to book your place