During the recent Microsoft IT Forum in Barcelona my colleague Dan attended a panel discussion on the green data centre. The panel featured many of the key industry influencers (AMD, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Citigroup), whose research and product development has implications for the implementations of data centres worldwide.
The first discussion focused on the actual buildings themselves, with the “green factor” a big consideration when commissioning new data centres. Typically, building a ‘green’ data centre incurs higher upfront costs than traditional ones but there are long term energy-efficiency benefits, and the associated cost savings, to be realised. Considerations included the types of building material to be used and the location (i.e. would it be better to have a Data Centre in a cold environmental location to lower cooling costs?), while other ideas concentrated on requirements for recycling and re-using energy. With power consumption one of the main considerations when planning a data centre, re-usable energy would be a massive advantage.
The next topic was the virtualisation and consolidation of applications and services. There was some difference of opinion on whether running more than one application or service on one server was the way forward when, traditionally, vendor recommendations have always been to have dedicated servers. I guess the answer to this question depends on the situation and how critical the service is that is being provided. In conclusion, the agreement was that virtualisation has only just started to demonstrate its benefits.
Other subjects discussed included changes in storage, server (e.g. blades versus rack or stand alone) and chip technologies (new chips require less power but process more).
For further details on what the industry is doing around Green IT, click on the links above or visit: http://www.thegreengrid.org/home