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Data centre energy use to double in five years, agency warns

Well it’s obvious – if the rate  firms are buying up server hosting space continues, there’s going to be a HUGE demand for more power.

Apparently the electricity boards have told the banks in the UK – well London anyway – “no more server farms, please – our grid cannee cope captain”.

Anyway – bit grumpy today from no sleep and a nasty deadline approaching. Here’s the press release, but ignore the gubbins about “the world’s most successful provider of offshore Internet and ebusiness solutions.” Greenbang has no idea why companies write moronic statements like that and expect to have trusted opionions. Then again, he’s only gone and published the press release.

And another thing – why do some people spell internet with a capital ‘I’? It’s a noun – a thing. It’s not a name or a place.

Anyway – Greenbang has digressed – sorry…

The rate at which computers and data centers are using power will double in five years, a rate so rapid that the U.S. will need 10 more electric power plants over that period just to keep up, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a report released on Friday. The UK situation is not much better, according to Netcetera, the world’s most successful provider of offshore Internet and ebusiness solutions.

Netcetera’s Chief Operating Officer David Boswell says: “The EPA is suggesting that the US government should challenge private enterprise to do more to cut power usage such as the EPA. The UK government should do the same. Frankly, the ever increasing cost of power is incentive enough. Taxing energy usage is a good way to challenge people to use less!”

“The first and most important power issues facing data centres in the UK, is obviously the cost. The second is the increasing demand for more power per rack. Many existing data centres can only provide 2KW or so, which is not sufficient for clusters of virtual servers, which are themselves the more efficient way to provide computing power. Thirdly, we need to recognise the creaking power infrastructure in the south east of England, which is struggling to meet needs.”
The EPA finds that some data center power reduction efforts will likely take new construction of a data center, but state-of-the art technologies, coupled with best practices — including aggressive server and storage consolidation, power management, liquid cooling, among other things — could reduce a data center’s energy usage by 55%.

David Boswell says, “New data centres obviously have the edge over older ones – they can take advantage of new technologies and be built with the environment in mind. Older centres may need to be refurbished, but if they are located in the south east will still struggle to get sufficient, efficient power provided to them.”

The EPA also outlines the barriers to adoption of these improvements, such as a separation of responsibility between the IT manager and facilities managers. The facilities manager pays the utility bill, the IT manager does not. The EPA said this splits the incentives for reducing power consumption.
David Boswell says, “In hosting data centres (rather than in-house computer centres) the IT and facilities functions tend to work much more closely together, as the business is IT, rather than anything else, and the cost of power is one of the main business costs. In other industries, IT and facilities costs are much more likely to be separated and thus harder to manage across responsibilities.”

The EPA report finds that there is prolific use of the relatively low cost x86 servers, reputed to be the least energy efficient.

Dave Boswell says, “This is true of many UK data centres as well. We offer alternatives from top quality manufacturers, such as Dell and HP, who themselves invest substantial amounts in making their products energy efficient. Alternatively our clients can provide their own kit. As they get charged for power usage, it makes sense for them to use energy efficient kit.”

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