Lessons Learned - Conclusion of the project

 

   By Julie Chenadec & Vasiliki Georgiadou, Green IT Amsterdam

The GEYSER project has come to an end with its last review meeting held at Brussels on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.

Positive and encouraging comments have been made both about the consortium and the project’s results achieved in our 4 pilots in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

During the past three years, the GEYSER team has been focused on delivering a technological and business proof-of-concept that supports Data Centres to interact with their smart city ecosystem. The developed solution targets not only Data Centre Managers and Operators but stakeholders at the interface of the involved systems such as DSOs, Smart City Energy Managers, ESCOs and so on. From the analysis carried out and dissemination towards key players in the industry, the market maturity for this innovation is emerging with an increasing demand and only few offerings.

We strongly believe that the GEYSER Solution for Green Data Centres will be ready, exploitable and marketable in less than 5 years. Business drivers, such as cost reduction, revenue generation and CSR guidelines, are pointing towards that direction and the industry is already looking for new opportunities. GEYSER enables the successful integration of Data Centres operations to a Smart City vision where all involved stakeholders can benefit from the developed solution, tailored to their needs and wants, and achieve energy efficiency and costs savings.

This EU funded project has achieved solid and promising results because the consortium partners were dedicated from the beginning. Indeed, since the beginning we strongly believed that the solution would be marketable in the project’s consortium’s countries such as the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland and Germany. The vision we had at the beginning of the project was too optimistic as the mindset was at that moment very different, and the technology would not (yet) fit our product.

Now three years have passed and we have refocused our work based on realistic vision from the feedback of the industry in order to deliver a solution that could easily meet the changing demands of each involved stakeholder. The vision we are promoting now is based on how the market would accept the GEYSER Solution and how it is integrated to it. As a matter of fact, this is a key added-value of our project: to be able to adapt to any stakeholder, business scenario and data centre types.

As an EU project gathering multiples countries and evolving in such sector, we were highly dependent on internal development and how it can be embedded within our activity. Having different countries and levels of technological innovation helped us shape our pilots and results and as such enabled us to abstract each key necessary to design and offer a modular and yet holistic solution

Another driver that strengthened our consortium is our diversity in the deployment of the GEYSER Solution. It has been a key factor to the design of the pilots’ customization and their integration within the 3 different types of data centres: High Performance Computing, Enterprise and Colocation. Different modules have been tested in the GEYSER test-beds based on each partner technical competencies and business roles.

The consortium overcame issues raised during the development and validation of the solution by actively reviewing and adjusting the way each test scenario was tailored to the corresponding test-bed facility. For certain pilots, few modifications were necessary to specifically adapt to the needs of the test-bed. This is a unique selling point of the GEYSER Solution as no two data centres are alike and therefore the solution needs to be easily adaptable by those who implement it.

The results of each test scenario were linked to different data centre types and provided useful insights. First, for the dissemination and exploitation team, to promote awareness on the project’s achievements, but also for external stakeholders willing to exploit the GEYSER framework in the future. It is therefore clear that the GEYSER solution can be made available to the market in just a few years, enabling different actions tailored to the needs of the stakeholders.

From an industry point of view, we think that our unique and integrated Solution sets us apart from what already exists in the market. The innovative concept of the GEYSER project make us unique, as no integration such as the one we successfully performed in our pilots has been realised before. The fact that we were an active member of a cluster of similar projects allowed us to build upon results and aim for more.

The consortium was composed of various partners each having different impact – technological, environmental, economic, and so on – allowing GEYSER to be a future marketable-ready solution. The concept of Smart Cities, the evolving role of DSOs, as well as the increasing possibilities for renewable energy sources, make GEYSER not just a data model for a DCIM, but an innovative tool to help datacentres to re-think their strategies for energy sources, storage and heat re-use.

The architectural advancements and innovative integration of different components within the GEYSER solution can drive efficiency improvements in the data centre market. Nowadays, our high demand towards these huge facilities of data management, can also be shaped regarding the demand and the flexibility of a Smart City or Smart District.

The results we have achieved are already used in the development of a Green Datacenter Campus around Amsterdam and will be taken into account for follow-up projects. We strongly believe that the data centre industry should actively participate within local Energy Hubs which will leverage on new combinations of innovations and technologies, from both within and outside the industry itself.

GEYSER enabled green networked datacentres will be able to monitor, control, reuse and optimize their energy consumption and production, from renewable energy in particular, within the framework of a holistic representation of energy (either power or heat) and along the underway roadmap towards acting as energy prosumers. This added value of the technical proof-of-concept is now ready to mature into a market-ready solution aiming at different integration levels for any stakeholders that wish to be greener.

Like in any research projects, we have encountered some difficulties as we are developing and testing at the same time.

One of the lessons learned is that it is crucial to understand the local context of the practice in order to be able to adjust the test case to the actual test site, namely, a smarter signalling system. The analysis we have performed called the Sustainability Impact Assessment Method uncover these aspects.  One of the first step was to realize a contextualisation framework where we listed every drivers and constraints so as to match the needs and wants of the data centre in practice.

Another difficulty that we successfully overcome is the use of different technologies such as the OpenStack technology, which have had limited real world validation. Thus, it inevitably requires multiple modifications to system configurations, to configuration files, sometimes to the underlying code and some persistence. The use of such technology needs to be performed by expert who know how to run it and do the necessary changes when the time comes. Our partner from Switzerland were expert on this technology.

One of the main technological tools we have developed is the GEYSER Optimization Engine: the “brains” of the GEYSER framework. It draws the plans to schedule data centre operations to meet high-level business or energy goals, locally or within the Smart City. This was a non-trivial process to implement and because our partners are located abroad, working remotely presents a challenge especially should an error occur.

Nevertheless, open communication and commitment to the project’s vision by all partners involved helped us overcome challenges presented our way and now that the project is finished, we are more than happy to share with you the final results. Feel free to browse our Download Section ! 

 

 

 

FP7 Cluster Smart City project at European Sustainable Energy Week 2016

 

 By Julie Chenadec, Analyst at Green IT Amsterdam

The EUSEW caters for activities to build a secure energy future for Europe. It brings together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and consumers to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power. This yearly opportunity to showcase innovative processes was the first time for the GEYSER project to present data centres as flexible energy players.

The workshop co-organised along with Be Great has been a success for both the attendees – who were around 30 – and the correlation on insights regarding two different topics (data center energy efficiency and the Internet impact of users).

The first part organised by Green IT Amsterdam was entitled “New-look Data Centers- Urban and Local Pilots, Sustainable Energy Systems, latest findings” where we showcased six different pitches on EU projects with topics like energy efficient, green, urban datacenters and smart renewable energy systems. The projects presented are part of the Smart City Cluster projects: GEYSER (Jaak Vlasveld), DOLFIN (Artemis Voulkidis), GENiC (Dirk Pesch), RenewIT (Andrew Donoghue), DC4Cities (Maria Perez Ortega) and EURECA (Rabih Bashroush).

The different themes related to our Cluster are utterly integrated in a way that we are delivering sustainable practices. First, from an energy flexibility perspective along with data center management of energy system and innovative processes uptake and secondly, to innovative energy efficient and environmentally sound data centre products and services.

It is clear that these research and results will be the future of Smart Cities and Smart Cities Energy Management Authority. The roll-out of competitive networked data center industry where we explore a flexible local marketplace (stabilize grid infrastructure and increase renewable energy sources) will be achieved thanks to the dedication of such innovative projects in Europe.

 

The different talks presented fit at the right context and time where we are told that Data center stem from a unique foundation for the next digital economy and future data challenges (Dutch Data Center report 2016). Flexible management of the ICT workload and available energy sources (mostly renewables) are at the heart of all those changes that we need to grasp.

From left to right: Jaak Vlasveld, Artemis Voulkidis, Dirk Pesch, Rabih Bashroush, Andrew Donoghue, Maria Perez Ortega.

 

GEYSER at Datacloud Europe - 08/06/2016

 By Maikel Bouricius, project manager at Green IT Amsterdam

 

Green IT Amsterdam represented GEYSER during the Datacloud Europe event on June 8th in Monaco.

Datacloud Europe, one of the leading datacenter and cloud industry events in Europe is organized annually and is covering both datacenter and cloud topics for a wide and high level industry audience.

 

Maikel Bouricius, Manager Marketing communications & collaboration at Green IT Amsterdam, participated in a panel session around renewable energy, specifically industry and stakeholders efforts to make the renewable energy transition possible.

The discussion, chaired by TechUK’s Emma Fryer covered the efforts the datacenter industry already made regarding sustainability and the need for stakeholder collaboration to make the renewable energy transition possible. Also the topic of flexibility of energy supply and demand was discussed and seen as important by the panelists.

 

In general, this year’s theme of Datacloud Europe was the development around edge datacenters judging from the various talks and discussions. This development, building datacenters closer to the end user, resulting in possible networks of datacenter operators is interesting from a flexibility and dynamic perspective. Together with the development of datacenter automation, we are moving from monitoring to automated decision making, the opportunity for GEYSER tools are increasing.

 

Employing Openstack Watcher in GEYSER to make Openstack more Energy Efficient

Seán Murphy is a Senior Researcher in the ICCLab at ZHAW. Seán’s main interest is in energy efficiency in cloud computing but he does wear some other hats within ICCLab including working on the FP7 FICORE project.

GEYSER focuses on making Data Centres more energy efficient in the context of varying availability of energy. One of the tools used in this context is a mechanism to effect load consolidation on IT workload in the Data Centres. The GEYSER project has chosen to focus on the Openstack cloud computing framework as the context to perform such load consolidation and in the earlier stages of the project developed a load consolidation solution which was demonstrated on a small cluster locally.

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Datacenter Dynamics Colombia: Data centres becoming more flexible

By Maikel Bouricius, project manager at Green IT Amsterdam

We already were aware that the data centre sector is a dynamic and quickly developing one, as part of the wider internet industry. But while my last contribution on the blog was on the smart data centre development at the Datacloud conference in Monaco back in June, according to what I have noticed during Datacenter Dynamics in Colombia data centres are not only getting smarter, but also flexible.

I was invited to represent the GEYSER project and Green IT Amsterdam while speaking about how energy efficient data centre hubs and smart cities are becoming one. During my – very adventurous – flight to Colombia I prepared my talk and did write down a quote closing my presentation with: “flexible data centres and flexible cities are the future cities best friends”.

Apparently I was not the only one thinking flexibility is one of the key development for the data centre industry going on as we speak. With talks from HP, NEC and Microsoft, flexibility was part of their talks on modular data centres, hybrid clouds and energy efficient data centre infrastructure. Most of my fellow speakers connected flexibility to the unpredictable growth of data centres and making facilities fit with their demand for services to facilitate the growth of e-commerce and IoT.

During the roundtable discussion on the future of data centres, “flexibility” was one of the developments identified and one of the topics for the experts to respond. Which I thought was interesting to see, as flexibility goes beyond operational excellence and the usual topics of security and continuity during this kind of conferences.

Surely my talk on the GEYSER project and connected initiatives in the Amsterdam region, was fitting right in this context. But there was also a talk on DC4Cities by Jordi Guijaro, ICT operations & security manager at CSUC, on energy adaptive data centres as part of smart cities.

Of particular interest is also the clear attitude towards data centers in Bogota: several people with whom I spoke with, including an advisor for the city of Bogota on innovative technology, made clear to me that the need of developing a “smart” Bogota, might be the main driver for the data centre growth in the region.

Very interesting to follow the developments in Colombia; since they see data centres from the beginning as an integrated part of a smart city, innovative things can happen there.

More information on the event.

Extending the Openstack Dashboard to support Delay Tolerant Workload

By Bruno Grazioli, research assistant in the ICCLab at ZHAW.

Scheduling workload in the cloud is an important capability which can be used to realize energy savings and it is the focus of some of our activities within the GEYSER project. The most prominent open source cloud stack - Openstack - provides little support for more flexible scheduling of workload, particularly pertaining to delay-tolerant work. The existing Openstack scheduler, within the nova component, launches every request in a sequential fashion - first-come-first-served - and consequently does not offer the required flexibility. Of course there is more intelligence in the scheduler such that certain hosts can be given higher priority with weightings, or filters can be used to prevent work from operating on other hosts, but it does not give the freedom to choose the time a VM/workload should be started. So, we developed a basic µservice which enables work to be scheduled for specific future points in time - the system is well integrated with the Openstack dashboard and we describe it here.

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GEYSER - Green nEtworked data centers as energY proSumers in smaRt city environments
Work partially supported by European Community under the SMARTCITIES-2013 call of the 7th FP for RTD - project GEYSER, contract 609211.
The Author is solely responsible for the content of this paper. It does not represent the opinion of the European Community, and the European Community is not responsible for any
use that might be made of data appearing therein.
 

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