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N°35  |  February   2009
Executive opinion

A code of conduct for energy efficiency and the transition to green computing
By Bruno Pinna, Marketing Director, Bull


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The publishing of the European Union’s Code of conduct for DataCenter energy efficiency heralds an important step towards maturity for technologies and infrastructure management processes. The stakes: to increase energy efficiency while optimizing performances. Bull has been closely associated with drawing up this code of conduct, and has considerable expertise and innovative products to support customers in their deployment of sustainable development plans.

On 19 November 2008, the European Commission Joint Research Center (EC JRC) published the first version of the Code of Conduct on Data Centers Energy Efficiency V1.0. This touches on Bull in two ways – in its capacity as an IT manufacturer and Data Center operator – and from the start it has played an active role in the work needed to create this document. This Code of conduct aims, in the first instance, to make all those involved aware of the scope and increasing convergence of economic and environmental benefits of better Data Center energy efficiency. By demonstrating that efforts in this area also help to improve performance and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), the aim is to inspire as well organizations to voluntarily commit themselves to adopting responsible attitudes to energy efficiency. Finally, by reporting on current best practice, for the first time the Code of conduct validates and structures initiatives that have already been undertaken by those in the IT industry, such as the Green Grid association which Bull belongs to.  

The Code of conduct is aimed at two target groups: Data Center operators and/or owners (who sign up to the Code as ‘participants’), who commit to a process of gradual improvement, and IT manufacturers and associated bodies (who sign up as ‘endorsers’) who support and disseminate the actions in the Code. However, indirectly, the Code is also aimed at all users and purchasing departments in public and private sector organizations, because it enables them to establish benchmarks for energy performance.

The Code recognizes and recommends the first energy efficiency metrics – PUE or Power Usage Effectiveness and DCiE or Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency – defined by the Green Grid and is co-operating with this body on developing a new family of productivity measures known as the DCP (Data Center Productivity) metrics. PUE is used to evaluate the relationship between the total electricity consumption of the Data Center, and the consumption of different hardware items (servers, storage and networks). In terms of efficiency, the average energy efficiency indicator for traditional Data Center is usually expected to be around 3.0: which means that for every kilowatt of electricity consumed by a server, the Data Center itself uses another 2KW for cooling and power supply. Today, the combination of advanced technology and our expertise means we can achieve 30% or even 50% improvements in that efficiency (giving a PUE ratio of 2.0 or even 1.5). What’s more, when environmental conditions allow us to use natural cooling solutions – such as air and water – we can see dramatic improvements in these ratios. From the point of view of both costs and the environment, that’s very far from being just a nominal benefit.

For users, adopting the Code of conduct is therefore an excellent opportunity to really focus on this increasingly important issue, and Bull has all the resources necessary to supporting them in their approach. With its long-standing involvement in IT industry initiatives (Green Grid, Climate Savers Computing Initiative…), and as a key contributor to the Code of conduct, Bull masters energy efficiency technologies and best practices, and is committed to continuing its planned development in this area to the highest levels of excellence. As an IT manufacturer, Data Center architect and hosting services provider, Bull has the vision and global skill-base that is absolutely essential to true energy intelligence, and its approach to energy consumption goes way beyond hardware performance to take into account all operating parameters (architecture, applications, loading…) so as to deliver the required levels of service.

For Bull, the notion of shared responsibility is at the very heart of its approach to sustainable development. This means that the company not only manages initiatives directly related to its own business activities, but it also delivers services and technologies that enable customers to respond to their own social, societal and environmental challenges. For Bull, this strong conviction is the driving force behind the notion of innovation to support its users. In this spirit, Bull and Schneider Electric have signed a unique partnership to offer energy audits for IT infrastructures. Bull has also become an exclusive distributor in Europe for energy optimization and operation software from American publisher Cassatt. The company has also launched a collaborative venture with SAP Research designed to combine hardware and software-led approaches to optimizing energy consumption for enterprise applications. All these innovative initiatives, designed to meet the principles stipulated in the Code of Conduct, are part of Bull’s Bio Data Center™ offering, a new approach  which effectively combines performance, flexibility, scalability and environmental equilibrium.

The publication of the first version of the Code of conduct marks a significant step along the way to truly optimized IT. By defining a framework, good practices and metrics, the Code enables every organization to tackle this subject in a practical way. For each of them, this will involve firstly assessing the energy performance of their Data Center, and then defining a progress plan with targeted objectives and clear timescales. The shared research center and its industrial partners are also working to expand the panel of indicators, to cover not just the energy consumed by the IT hardware, but also by services delivered to users. This development is perfectly in line with Bull’s approach, and clearly highlights how appropriate this is when it comes to sustainably supporting customers in their own energy efficiency initiatives.

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