A Summit To Define Better Energy Efficiencies For Data Centers

Data centers are huge energy consumers. And with increasing Internet usage, the consumption levels for data centers are only going to climb. This could lead to the need for a major expansion in power plants, especially in areas like the Silicon Valley. In this post, Zen Kishimoto looks at the power consumption issue and the announcement of the Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit, to be held in October.

Before discussing the annual SVLG Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit, some readers told me that my previous post regarding the announcement on the Second Annual SVLG Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit 2009 was too sketchy and wanted me to elaborate on it. So here is more about the conference.

First, let me give you some context and background information.

A data center is a special building where a large number of servers and other IT equipment and devices, along with facilities equipment like power and cooling gears, are placed and a massive amount of power is consumed every hour of every day throughout the year without any interruption. As many applications and services, such as games, e-commerce, storage archiving due to a regulation like HIPPA, tax and other government filings, and social networking, move online (cloud computing is one such trend), data centers to support them are being built at an unparalleled speed.

In spite of the market downturn, co-location data center operators are thriving. The average power consumption of each rack used to be 1 kilowatt (kW), but it is now 10 kW and, for some racks, even 20 or 30 kW. The power consumption density of data centers has increased at a tremendous pace, although the total power consumption in the office environment is still greater than that of data centers.

The U.S. Congress, when alerted of the trends, ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to report on the past, present, and future of power consumption by data centers. In 1997, EPA published a lengthy and comprehensive report presenting five scenarios. Although the report is theoretical in nature, with server deployment (of various kinds) and its power consumption information modified by the impacts of virtualization and recent power reduction technologies, the trend was clear. In 2006, power consumption doubled as compared with that in 2001. Unless some drastic measures are taken, it is expected that consumption will double again by 2011, requiring another ten power plants.

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Under each of the first three scenarios—status quo, current status, and improved data centers—power consumption goes up, but under the last two scenarios—best practices and state-of-the-art data centers—power consumption goes down.

This result is great, but it is mostly theoretical. Following the publication of the report, Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG’s home page), a nonprofit organization with more than 300 member companies in Silicon Valley, initiated the verification of the EPA’s results and conducted a series of experiments with participating companies. The result was published at SVLG Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit 2008 (data center energy summit). The conclusion is given in the final report, and the conclusion is that the results presented in the EPA report were validated by real experiments.

Now this summit will be repeated this year. A long-awaited announcement has been made. Reserve October 15th for attending the Second Annual SVLG Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit 2009.

I think this summit is very different from other data center conferences because:

* It uses the theoretical work of the EPA report as a base and attempts to validate it with real experiments.
* All the participants, planning committee, and project teams, are voluntary, and objectivity is the ultimate goal, without intensive commercialism or heavy marketing of particular products or services.
* The experiment results are peer validated and no one-sided, market-oriented results will be given.

In addition, many movers and shakers of the data center market will get together and provide state-of-the-art technologies and discuss how data centers can be made more energy efficient. If you are an IT executive or practitioner, you will learn how your IT loads impact your whole data center’s efficiency. Conversely, if you are a facilities operator, you will see how you can make your facilities’ gears impact IT operations. In my opinion, this is a must-attend conference. Also, do not forget to check out our research report on how to green your data centers.

See below for more details.

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Zen Kishimoto

About Zen Kishimoto

Seasoned research and technology executive with various functional expertise, including roles in analyst, writer, CTO, VP Engineering, general management, sales, and marketing in diverse high-tech and cleantech industry segments, including software, mobile embedded systems, Web technologies, and networking. Current focus and expertise are in the area of the IT application to energy, such as smart grid, green IT, building/data center energy efficiency, and cloud computing.

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