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 ! 

 

 

 

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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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