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.