As the world becomes increasingly digital, demand for data centres is booming ― and so too is their energy consumption. Data centres worldwide produce around half the volume of emissions of the global aviation industry and more than the total emissions of the Netherlands. EU-funded researchers are developing ways to reduce data centres' environmental impact. With tens of thousands of processors and storage units that need to be kept cool, about the same amount of energy is used for cooling data-centre equipment as powering it. This makes the infrastructure behind cloud services ripe for improving energy efficiency.
'For every kilowatt of energy consumed by the data centre, almost another kilowatt is dissipated as heat,' explains Dr Massimo Bertoncini at Engineering Ingegneria Informatica in Italy. 'With ever-larger data centres being built around the world to meet rising demand for digital services, powering and cooling them is an increasingly significant environmental issue.'
Dr Bertoncini coordinated a team of researchers who spent 30 months tackling the challenge. Their work on energy efficiency, conducted in the 'Green active management of energy in IT service centres' ( GAMES) project and supported by EUR 3 million in funding from the European Commission, is about to be applied commercially. It has helped cut energy consumption at the data centres where it has been implemented so far by more than 20 %.
The GAMES consortium investigated effective methodologies and enabling technologies aimed at reducing the energy consumption of the IT infrastructure, taking the view that any improvement in energy efficiency at IT infrastructure level will automatically reduce energy consumption at the cooling/facility subsystem level by the same amount.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc