DCN February 2017 - Page 9

industry news

Innovative approaches to renewable energy will help improve data centre sustainability for smaller data centres – The Green Grid

Smaller data centre providers should follow in the footsteps of the large hyperscalers in adopting renewable energy sources to power the data centre rather than relying solely on unsustainable fossil fuel energies . Roel Castelein ( pictured ), customer services director of The Green Grid , argues that more innovative approaches to renewable energy will be useful towards reducing carbon emissions across the data centre industry .
Roel said , ‘ While fossil fuels have traditionally been an effective resource in powering the data centre , it is essentially a finite resource , while also being a significant contributor towards rising carbon emissions experienced in the industry . According to a white paper from Digital Realty , by 2020 , data centres are projected to consume electricity equivalent to the output from 50 large coal fired power plants – and that ’ s just in the US alone .
‘ This goes to show the amount of power required to support data centres , but with limited supplies , alternative power through renewable energy will clearly be the most sustainable solution . Data centre operators have already placed large emphasis on using natural resources to cool IT infrastructure such as free air cooling , and this same mindset should exist when considering how the data centre should be powered .’
Roel Castelein , customer services director of The Green Grid , argues that more innovative approaches to renewable energy will be useful towards reducing carbon emissions across the data centre industry .
However , there has been a growing amount of support for renewable energy in the past year from the hyperscalers . Amazon Web Services ( AWS ) announced that it will hit the halfway mark on its commitment of having all of its sites powered by renewable energy sources by the end of 2017 , while Google claimed that its entire data centre fleet will be entirely powered by wind and solar energy from 2017 . But whilst larger organisations have had the resources and scalability to factor in more natural resources , Roel claims smaller data centres will need to be innovative in its approach to using renewable energy .
‘ The example set by companies such as Google and AWS is important in our understanding that renewable energy provides a viable solution in tackling the sustainability issue , especially with the vast amounts of data exchanges happening in today ’ s technology climate . Many of the larger players have capitalised on building their sites in locations that have the most renewable avenues available to them , or in the case of Google , who have managed to develop and sustain long term contracts with energy suppliers to guarantee a constant supply of energy , while also minimising the costs involved .’


A new Executive Order from President Trump , ‘ Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States ’, has raised concerns regarding the implications for the EU-US Privacy Shield data sharing agreement .
Section 14 states : ‘ Privacy Act . Agencies shall , to the extent consistent with applicable law , ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information .’
This has raised fears regarding the ability for foreign data to be accessed by US agencies , including the NSA and FBI .
The European Commission has responded , confirming that it ‘ will continue to monitor the implementation of both instruments [ Privacy Shield and the EU-US Umbrella Agreement ]…’
Bill Mew , cloud strategist at UKCloud , has made the following comments :
‘ The EU-US data transfer arrangements require a level of commitment and trust on both sides in order to be effective . The previous arrangement in Safe Harbor was found to be unworkable and the subsequent arrangement , Privacy Shield , has been in place for a short while now . However , many held out little hope for the success of Privacy Shield from the outset .
‘ We have entered an era of uncertainly as the Trump administration takes office , with potentially many more unsettling Executive Orders to follow . As a result , many European organisations with systems or data that require specific data sovereignty and privacy guarantees will surely begin to move away from US public cloud providers , in favour of local providers that are beyond the reach of intrusive US regulations .
‘ All public sector bodies with contracts with US cloud firms need to make an immediate Privacy Impact Assessment , and if necessary , they need to be scoping out migration options to move workloads to where data privacy and sovereignty can be assured .’