Wednesday 13 December 2017

December 2017 Update

Just a brief update today.

There is a great amount of confusion about the energy consumption of ICT globally with estimates ranging from 2.5% (on a par with the aviation industry) to 10%. The aviation industry comparison is quite old now but still used by some organisations to highlight the potential environmental impact. The higher figure of 10% was published in 2013 in this report

The thing is this, the growth of ICT services (Cloud, IoT) MITIGATES energy consumption elsewhere, the move from on-site ICT (where the management/legacy may be suspect and quite inefficient) to hyperscale cloud datacentres (AWS/Google/Salesforce) and colocation sites where the management and designs are efficient is a good thing. The use of IoT for monitoring and better management can reduce energy consumption used for maintenance and support services, changing from regular servicing to just in time servicing which reduces overall costs.

The GESi smarter2030 report identifed the opportunities that can arise from the use of ICT systems, this guidance can be found here 

However, us consultants and those involved in policy are somewhat behind the curve and dont always know everything (although we would have you believe that we are on the bleeding edge) a case in point is quantifying the actual and projected energy use in this sector, we are always behind the curve on this as we do not have current and accurate data to work with.
The two figures above are estimates, and unfortunately with ICT it is always a moving target because the ICT ecosystem is very dynamic, new ICT systems are installed everyday, and not much is ever removed, hence a drive to eliminate "zombie" servers, reputed to be at least 30% in of installed IT in the US, these "zombie servers" consume vast quantities of power and network and do nothing, except cost money.

I had two articles published in the trade press yesterday, the first was this article for "inside networks, which can be found here
This was my view on the most significant for data centres in the UK this year, and I presented the 2nd target findings report from the Climate Change Agreement for Data Centres where those in the scheme posted an average PUE of 1.8, 1.8 ! Think about that for the moment, essentially it means that for every 1w of IT power, we are using .8w to support it, mostly cooling but also lights, management, security and building management etc. To put this into perspective, the most advanced data centres designs will now operate at sub 1.2 and the real cutting edge data centres operate at sub 1.1 This is simply not acceptable, operators are burning money and passing that costs onto consumers.

The second article was published in the Data Centre Solutions Magazine and can be found here 
In this report I made an estimate of how much energy was being used by UK PLC, essentially all the data centres, server rooms, mobile phone towers, railway/motorway traffic controls systems that create, process or transmit data for use in and by government, academia and the commercial sector.

My first attempt was very alarming, the figures revealed were quite staggering, the energy consumption was TWh's and the cost was anywhere between £7-9 Billion, time to sharpen the pencil! My estimates were based on the amount of businesses that employed over 50 people, which in the UK are 40,000, and that an organisation employing over 50 people would have an IT estate/server room, with approximately 50 devices (servers, storage and network) and be operating at a PUE of 2. We add to that total Government, including blue light, schools, universities etc to reach 80,000 server rooms with an average electricity of cost of just under £60,000 a year and depending on tariff costing UK PLC some £4-7Billion and using just over 38.5TWh or about 12.5% of UK generated capacity (2016)
Although some commenters are wary of the figures, including one that said that turkey processors employ over 50 people and none of them use a computer! which is a fair comment, all in all I think that my estimates are valid and probably a fair reflection of UK PLC IC cost and consumption.
In summary, as I stated in the 2nd article, we simply do not know the actual amount and probably never will, for that we will have to undertake a deep study and survey and make some assumptions.
If you fancy helping out, a) by assisting with the project, or b) funding the project, contact me directly via the website, social media feeds or email.
Over the Christmas break I'll be writing our 2017 Annual Review so until then, enjoy the holiday preparations and mull over the size of the energy efficiency opportunity.

Until next time......

Friday 10 November 2017

Green IT Week (Month)

SFL, Sustainability for London is proud to be part of the Green IT Global network, this is a collaboration between Green IT Amsterdam, AGIT, Swiss Informatics Green IT SG and SFL.
Green IT Amsterdam are organising a Green IT week, although that is a very loose term as the event will run from the 7th November to the 30th.

More information can be found on this link

Friday 20 October 2017

The EU Code of conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) and BREXIT!

As a committee member on the EUCOC best practice committee and the principle reviewer of applications to be part of the scheme, I have since July 2016 been asked "what will happen with the EUCOC with regard to Brexit?".

The answer is very simple, for the present, nothing.

The EUCOC, whilst an EU-JRC scheme, was orginally created by DEFRA, the British Computer Society and the EU-Joint Research Centre and it is the intention to continue as such, until circumstances change.

The participation scheme will still be run from the EU-JRC in Ispra, Milan, Italy and the latest 2018 verision of the best practices and associated reporting form will be published shortly.

The last best practice committee took place in Ispra, Milan at the end of September between approximately 20 organsations.

As to the future, well, as some will know, the EUCOC is now included as a technical report in the emerging EN50600 series of Data Centre, Design, Build and Operations standards and this will continue, the full title is CLC/TR EN50600-99-1.
However, the information contained within this document and more importantly the content is delivered by the EUCOC best practices committee. There are no plans (as yet) to change this.

We can all speculate about what will happen after Brexit, but as the EUCOC is a voluntary scheme there is no compulsion to be be involved at all. That said, we do hear that many tenders include a requirement to be a participant in the EUCOC which is normally not marked but clearly there is an intention to use the EUCOC as a indicator of a committment to adopt energy efficiency best practices .

The EURECA project uses a number of standards and guidelines as potential inclusions in public sector tender documents and it is no surprise that the EUCOC is included, as well as ISO's 9001/14001/22301/27001 and 50001, being Quality, Environmental, Business Continuity, Information Security and Energy Management Systems respectively.

Clearly, if the UK ever actually leaves the EU, then procurement processes and procedures will undergo a significant amount of change within public sector organisations.
This would be a significant opportunity to tighten up on data centre procurement to include mandatory energy efficiency criteria in equipment and potentially operations.

If, and it is only an if, the UK does leave the EU then clearly there are a number of options, one is to continue with the EUCOC as is, and for endorser and participant organisations to update the EU-JRC on an annual basis as they do now.
Two, is that the UK rebrand the scheme to be the UKCOC, garner support for a local best practice committeee/community and for an adminstrative group to be created and things continue as before except that the management of participants/endorsers is run by a UK based organisation.
And thus, there is a question to answer, who is or could be that UK organisation?

I have my own thoughts on this, some may disagree, but one thing that is pressing is the planning of such an entity and a dialogue around the options.

The EUCOC has sought and been granted a slot at the forthcoming DCD Zettastructure event in London on the 7/8th November at Old Billingsgate Fish Market in the City of London, this event will cover the scheme, the reporting forms, the view from the field and a Q/A session. Its going to be a great opportunity to ask "What happens after BREXIT?"

I'll be there and will be talking about the EUCOC reporting form and will be on the panel, it could be a lively event so well worth taking time out for!

We have quite a busy November so next update will probably be just before Christmas.

Saturday 30 September 2017

October Update

Its been a busy few months since our last update but exciting times as well.
The EURECA project continues at pace, more information can be found on the project website
As many will be aware the project has been extended due to two new public sector data centre project that the project is working with, data has been collated on both and the findings are due to be presented to the clients in the next few weeks
Our next workshop will take place in conjunction with Data Centres Ireland, more information and registration can be found on this link

Its always great to go back to Ireland, and I'm sure that a great time will be had by delegates and exhibitors alike.

As a result of this extension we are still available for work on EURECA pilot projects, please let us know if you would like some free consultancy (terms and conditions apply).

Our midlands datacentre standards project has been cancelled due to various issues, but we have been in discussions with the principles about a new data centre project in Manchester.
This site will also incorporate the  "National Data Centre Academy" Manchester facility, this will be somewhat smaller than we have envisaged but will provide a great location to prove our proof of concept which will hopefully lead onto the main facility, which we hope will still be located in the Birmingham area.
On that note, if you are interested in learning more about the NDCA and its facilities please drop me a line at

The NDCA exhibited with our partners (Data Centre Alliance and IDC Achill Rock) at on the 23/24th May 2017 at the NEC in Birmingham, we had a number of visitors and I presented on the topic of sustainability for data centres, all in all the event was moderately suscessful in terms of potential new clients but more so on the awareness side of things.
Many enterprises still consider the data centre as a necessary evil and of course IT departments still have trouble with Shadow IT (The use of unauthorised cloud and colocation services) but in my opinion them only have themselves to blame (catch up with my at an industry event to find out more!)

The NDCA project is essentially a step change in the delivery of data centre training, we'll have the usual classroom environment, but we're adding special rooms to deliver practical skills including something very special.

I completed 3 CEEDA assessments, one, one in Ireland and 2 in Gibraltar, one is a new assessment of a legacy facility, one, a reassessment and one, a new facility. We also have a number in the pipe for later this year, I'll keep you posted.
If you would like a Certified Energy Efficiency for Data Centres Award (CEEDA), please visit CEEDA.
We provide a number of pre-ceeda and EUCOC services, please contact us directly on for pricing and availability.

Our work with the DCA continues and we have been very busy with 2 exciting new projects, of which more will be revealed by the DCA themselves, we wouldn't want to steal their thunder.
We attended the Datacentre Transformation Conference in Manchester on the 11th July,  and the DCA industry Update (approximately 40 delegates turned up and a very good networking session in a local hostelry, followed by a ather excellent curry ensued.

The latest DCA Golf Day was an eventful affair, I was unable to attend the morning session due to other commitments (more on that below) and in the afternoon it was literally 4 seasons in one day, we had rain, hail, mist, and finally sun, conditions were challenging but as usual the drinks buggy provided some much needed liquid refreshments (hic). The John Booth Wooden Spoon Award (named after my goodself and indicating a really rubbish golfer, usually me!) in fact was awarded to someone else, so I'm not sure that it is an indication of improvement, or that this year even worse golfers were in attendance.

The reason I was unable to attend the morning session was that we (NDCA) applied for some assistance from the Climate Launchpad programme and we had undertaken some 10 sessions with mentors to sharpen up a pitch deck in order to obtain finance. This was a very useful exprience and whilst we were ultimately unsuccessful (we came 4th!) it provided some strategic focus to the NDCA, which is always good.

Last week I was in Milan for the 2018 EUCOC best practices review, together with 20 or so colleagues from data centres owners, operators and supply chain organisations across the EU, as usual we reviewed S10/11 with a view to moving and enhancing the best practices, reviewed some external comments for new or revisions to current best practices and introduced some new bets practices at the event. The latest versions (2018) for the best practices document and the reporting forms are now in preparation and will be published when they are finalised.

In early June we were at the Data Cloud Congress, Monaco, this is the premier event in the data centre annual event season, and I am lucky enough to obtain free tickets through my work reviewing the EUCOC participant applications, thank you to Broad Group and the EU-JRC.

Its always a pleasure to meet up with colleagues from across the EU, but to quote a famous film, what happens in Monaco, stays in Monaco.

We ahve a busy few months ahead but we will attempt to attend the following events

5th October IP Expo - London
2nd November IM Meeting London AM
2nd November UKDCIG London PM
6th November BCS DCIG London Committee Meeting/AGM
7-8th November DCD Zettastructure
16th November EU GPP Seville, Spain
22 - 23rd November, Data Centres Ireland

Until next time...

Saturday 20 May 2017

May 2017 Update

Its been a busy few months since our last update but exciting and sometimes quite stressful times as well. I did promise an update in April but circumstances and travel conspired to make a lot of demands on my time, anyway heres the May update.

The EURECA project continues at pace, more information can be found on the project website
We've had 3 events since the last update, namely Stockholm, Berlin and Barcelona, all the events were fairly well attended and we've had some impressive speakers from public sector organisations detailing some of their own projects and ones where the EURECA project can help out. We have a meeting scheduled next week with an EU Government developing a full cloud services suite and planning to build their own new data centre, this will be "state of the art" and hopefully will adopt many of the EURECA project standards and specifications, we'll keep you posted on that project.
Due to this project and the fact that it is just at the start up and specification stage, we have applied for and been granted an extension to the project, so wheras the original project was 30 month duration and due to end in September 2017, it has now been extended to February 2018.

As a result of this extension we are still available for work on pilot projects, please let us know if you would like some free consultancy (terms and conditioins apply). On that note, we are still discussing a possible pilot with another EU government but they are currently in purdah (which should provide a clue as to who it is!) Again we'll keep you updated.

Our midlands datacentre standards project has been delayed due to various issues, but we have meetings with the principles next week and hope to be able to start our work before the end of May.
The delay has in fact been fairly productive as we have been given the opportunity to design the second phase of the proposed "National Data Centre Academy" and we've been hard at work talking to various organsiations about what they need for specific training courses and inviting them to view site (if you'd like to visit, please drop us an email on and we'll ping you back some dates)

On NDCA matters, we will be exhibting at next week (23/24th May 2017) at the NEC in Birmingham with our partners the Data Centre Alliance and IDC Achill Rock (our landlord) we'll be on stand N36 and you can use the following link to get your free tickets tickets

The NDCA project is essentially a step change in the delivery of data centre training, we'll have the usual classroom environment, but we're adding special rooms to deliver practical skills including something very special, I'm going to keep that under my hat for now as we have our partner coming to see the site and demostrate some kit next week, I can guarantee that this is a world first and potentially another real change to the way that we deliver certain types of training.

I completed 2 CEEDA assessments, one in Stockholm, Sweden and one in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and we have 3 scheduled for June, one in Ireland and 2 in Gibraltar, one of these is a reassessment and one is their new facility. We also have a number in the pipe for later this year, I'll keep you posted.

Our work with the DCA continues and we have been very busy 2 exciting new projects, of which more will be revealed by the DCA themselves, we wouldn't want to steal their thunder.
We'll be at the Datacentre Transformation Conference in Manchester on the 11th July, more information and registration can be found on this link I'll no doubt be speaking at the event and as always the DCA will be holding a mini event the day before in the afternoon, followed by networking drinks in a local hostelry. Once the details for the event are finalised I'll let you all know.

We attended the DCS awards last week, congratulations to all the organisations and people that won awards. Its always good to go to these events to catch up with colleagues in the industry, its a shame that sometimes its the only time you see them but thats life!

So, our main events over the next few months are as follows:

23/24th May
6-8th June Data Cloud Congress, Monaco
19-23rd June European Sustainable Energy Week, Brussels TBC
10th July DCA Update, UoM, Manchester
11th July Data Centre Transformation Conference, UoM,  Manchester
17th - 21st EURECA Training Week, NDCA Birmingham

Advanced Warning, a date for your diaries, the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres best practices committee has been provisionally scheduled for the 27th September in Ispra [more details once the meeting has been scheduled]

Until next time...

Monday 27 February 2017

February Update

We did promise a 2016 review in January but we've been so busy we haven't had the chance to put pen to paper, so heres our February Update and where possible we'll include references back to the 2016 stuff.

The EURECA project continues and has reached a number of milestones, the first was the release of the beta version of the tool, and a complete suite of changes to the traininig programme,  both of these can be found on this link, registration is required.
We were all in Paris for Data Centre World where we provided some content and conducted some of the training.
 The project is due to be completed by September 2017 and we'll be organising a number of workshops in, Stockholm, Barcelona and Brussels. Please visit the project website for more information.

We're working with a data centre owner in the West Midlands on a complete suite of ISO standards as specified by the EURECA project, this includes 9001/14001/22301/27001 & 50001, which are Quality, Environmental, Business Continuity, Information Security and Energy Management Systems as well as an EUCOC application.

Our work with the Data Centre Alliance continues with our chairing of the DCA energy efficiency steering group and providing support to the executive team.
The next DCA event is the day before Data Centre World and will take place at the same venue, London's Excel arena. More information and registration can be found on this DCA Industry Update - 14th March 2017
This meeting takes place the day before the DCW event so that delegates can attend both events without incurring additional costs.

I'll be attending DCW and will be on or around the DCA stand.

Our Sustainability for London (SFL) project, more info launched on the 25th October 2016.
The launch event took place as a part of the BCS Green IT SG AGM, 
SFL was developed to meet the Mayor of London's energy and carbon targets and provides specific asistance to London based organisations and more importantly the use of ICT systems, datacentres, networks and user devices, based upon 5 pillars, for more information please visit the SFL website here

On that note, it had been a relatively quiet year for the BCS Green IT SG but we have been working on our SFL project, but now that SFL is launched our focus will return to BAU after the AGM and we look forward to developing a full programme of events with the committee for the rest of 2016 and 2017.

We will be visiting Amsterdam in early April to meet up with our EU GREEN IT Consortium, Green IT Amsterdam, Swiss Informatics Society and AGIT (France), we'll report back on this initative in our next update.

We attended the EU-JRC Ispra complex in Italy in mid November as part of an expert panel created to evaluate and discuss the impending EMAS for the ICT sector.

We have a number of irons in the fire for future projects, the first was launched at DC North event in Manchester on the 15th February.

The National Data Centre Academy  (NDCA) is a practical training centre, available for commercial training companies for the delivery of their curent and perhaps future courses, data centre supply chain companies to use for product launches, technical updates and in house training and for research projects. Information on the NDCA can be found on our linked in page NDCA Linked In page and on our website here
Please get in touch for more information, booking, and pricing.

We're also involved with the DCA in a new EU project that will commence in Jan 2017, this project will be using the NDCA as a test bed for a new innovative cooling system.

Our project in partnership with the DCA with Central Government has been put on hold pending further discussions and clarity from BREXIT negotations.

BREXIT Update: Still too early to tell, but the signs are not good, we've seen increased activity in Europe on data centre activity, with new cables by-passing the UK and an increase in announced new data centre projects across the EU. UK Government seems intent on pushing through with the BREXIT legislation with minimal input from the 16 Million that voted to stay and saner voices across the House of Lords and other respected institutions, which in our opinion does not provide any clarity as to future plans or proposals, the recent green paper on Industrial Strategy negated to provide any details on the future of data centres in the UK.

We'll be in attendance at the following events in the next 2 months:

DCW London Excel 15th/16th March
EURECA Stockholm 20-24th March

Next Update - April 17