GEYSER at DataCloud Europe 2015: Data Centres getting smarter

By Maikel Bouricius, project manager at Green IT Amsterdam

DataCloud Europe, formerly Datacentres Europe, is known for years as the one of the most high-profile conferences for the data centre industry in Europe. The audience is management or board level and therefore it is a nice opportunity to spot trends and developments concerning the industry. It has been said DataCloud is the place industry deals are being made.

Last year there were still talks on cooling technology solutions and other initiatives data centres can take to improve their energy efficiency. However, this year’s conference showed a new trend: data centres are getting smarter. Not only an entire new track was introduced on smart cities and innovation, but many of the showcased solutions on the exhibition floor were power management tools and other software solutions for data centre management. Take Intel for example; their presentation was a call for action, pushing their DCM solutions for power management to enable energy aware and smart decisions, like power based job scheduling.

The smart cities and innovation track was indeed a great addition and platform for discussions on the future development of data centres in Europe. Within the track there was also a very well received presentation from the DC4Cities project over the tools our EU sister-project is working on. Interesting take away from Sonja Klingert’s talk was the realization that the current data centre hotspots seem to be not most suitably located regarding local renewable energy production. Except perhaps Amsterdam, provided another step could be taken with increasing wind power generation in the area, and Madrid, provided it would develop itself as a data centre hub closer towards the current top 4 in Europe.

Another interesting talk on smart cities was the talk from former UK minister of Science and Technology, Ian Taylor. His vision on smart cities did show the endless possibilities for cities when they will embed software as an infrastructure in their cities.

My GEYSER oriented presentation, was scheduled right after the previous mentioned talks and following a panel discussion on future smart cities, where I also took part. The panel did show different views on the way smart cities could develop. Mika Lauhde for example, a well-known security specialist, emphasized the need to integrate security as a priority while developing smart cities, especially when serious business models will be introduced making use of the available (open) data.

My talk on the integration of the smart city and the green data centre hub in Amsterdam was well received with the audience, as it did show some real examples of how this is happening within our region. The GEYSER project is naturally one of the examples, enabling data centres as flexible energy players. The other example was the Greening the Cloud project, a regional project in Amsterdam where R&D is being conducted to reduce the energy footprint of cloud services. As most of the talks earlier on the day where focusing on smart services and IoT applications, few realized that energy efficient data centres are absolutely essential in the smart city development. After the presentation on GEYSER and the other developments in the Amsterdam region, most of the audience realized we could only start thinking about developing a smart city in Amsterdam because of the sustainable digital infrastructure there is today, being developed by the pioneers on energy & data: the green data centre industry. As part of the presentation visuals were being shown taken from the Energy Atlas, an innovative data visualisation tool developed by the municipality of Amsterdam, showing the potential on renewable energy in the region, the large energy consumers (data centres) and showing the most interesting sources for energy reuse (data centres and hospitals).

The fact that a clear trend on data centres becoming smarter could be identified during DataCloud Europe, is a promise for the future. The future of the smart city and green data centre hub integration seem to be close within our grasp.

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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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