Bull and University Joseph Fourier, France, to co-operate on ‘green computing’
The two partners are aiming to implement an active policy, from auditing to the implementation of computing rooms with low carbon footprints. The key challenge: to reduce the electricity consumption of University Joseph Fourier’s computing facilities by 50% over the next three years.
Bull and University Joseph Fourrier (UJF) in Grenoble, France, have today announced a cooperative initiative to implement a sustainable development policy. The first stage in the collaboration will see the construction of a new energy-efficient computing suite at the heart of the university, following the Bio Data Center™ approach recommended by Bull. UJF’s aim is to cut the electricity consumption of its Data Centers by 50% over the coming three years.
Limiting global warming is becoming a key concern for public sector organizations. This applies particularly to buildings, because they are responsible for around 25% of energy pollution, especially Data Centers, which are large consumers of energy, with low levels of energy recovery and significant carbon footprints. As a result, almost half of the energy that they draw from the grid never actually reaches the components in computers such as processors, memory chips or disks. And only 3% of the energy consumed by a Data Center is actually used by the processors in computer hardware.
However, technological innovations and new practices are enabling organizations to break free from current approaches to energy management and to properly align their IT systems with demands for environmental protection and cost control. This is precisely the aim of the collaborative initiative that has been implemented between Bull and UJF. There will be several phases in this co-operation:
- Phase 1: Energy efficiency study
- Phase 2: Implementation of recommendations, and results check (environmental, financial, etc)
- Phase 3: Energy and financial monitoring
- Phase 4: Launch of research projects.
Phase 1 (the energy efficiency study) was recently completed. This work was carried out in close collaboration with Schneider Electric, Bull’s strategic partner in the area of Data Centers. It involved putting together a comprehensive inventory of resources, in order to take physical measurements and carry out an analysis of the IT environments in a 200m² (2,150 square foot) computing suite hosting some 100 generalist servers, HPC grids, hardware infrastructure for IT networks and telephony. The detailed report consists of a series of recommendations with associated action plan covering the cooling infrastructure, electrical distribution network, and the way that hardware and software are organized within the machine room.
The document sets out the general technical characteristics of the Data Center’s energy state.
Implementing simple recommendations to deliver a 15% saving on electricity costs
It has become clear that simply by implementing the recommendations set out in the report completely by Bull with UJF, a 15% saving on current expenditure on electricity is possible. These recommendations involve rationalizing the hardware pool and reducing the area that needs to be air-conditioned. The logical follow-on from this phase will be the implementation by UJF, in cooperation with Bull, of a new Data Center, featuring state-of-the-art technologies when it comes to cooling computer systems (using cold doors, geothermal energy...) and implementing software technologies such as virtualization.
Key figures: the challenges of ‘Green computing’
The challenges faced by IT Departments more widely can be summed up by a few key figures:
- The electricity consumption of PCs is growing by 5% a year
- Electricity typically accounts for 10% of IT Departments’ budgets
- The cost of electricity to run a typical computer over its lifetime is now greater than the purchase price
- Spending on energy represents around half the total cost of IT investments
- Between 2000 and 2005, the amount of electricity consumed by Data Centers worldwide has doubled, and between now and 2010 in the USA alone ten new power stations will be needed to respond to this growing pattern of electricity consumption.