Ensuring the most efficient data centre service for global customers
Wed 6 Apr 2016
The historic events at COP21 in Paris culminated in a new agreement reached between the world’s governments to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Plans were put in place for 195 nations to work together on the mitigation, adaption and to support those at risk from climate change. This requires the data centre industry across the globe to provide the means for those nations to collect, collate, process and store vast quantities of data used to monitor, adapt, plan and support our villages, towns, cities and coastlines that may come under sustained threat.
We must do this at the same time as adapting and changing our own systems, using less resources and energy so that we do not become part of the problem. I’m pleased to say that in the data centre industry, our suppliers and operators have already stepped up to the mark but more is needed. The data centre industry has a wide array of white papers, standards, guidelines, and certification schemes, to help provide the most efficient digital services to the customers, here are a few of the more important…
Since 2008, the European Union Joint Research Centre’s (EU-JRC) EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) (EUCOC) created in partnership with DEFRA and the BCS, Chartered Institute for IT, has provided a series of best practices covering management, IT equipment, cooling, power, design, and the monitoring of data centres. These are developed by the industry for the industry, are vendor neutral, and are reviewed every year.
Many organisations have adopted the EUCOC but have not become participants in the scheme and it is recommended that such organisations participate in the future
The EUCOC best practices for 2016 have also been adopted by CEN/CENELEC/ETSI, the European Standards Authority, reformatted and incorporated into EN 50600. This is an EU regional standard regarding the design, construction, implementation and management of data centres and is the Euro equivalent to TIA942 or BICSI 002, which are US standards developed by their equivalent to CEN/CENELEC/ETSI the ANSI, or American National Standards Institute. The EUCOC best practices will be known as a Technical Report under EN50600 and will be contained in part 2-3, the report will be titled EU50600 2-3 TR99-1. In effect, there will be two versions of the same best practices, albeit in different formats and titles. The participation scheme, which allows organisations to carry the EU Logo on their marketing materials is not affected by the addition of the EUCOC best practices into the EN50600, however many organisations have adopted the EUCOC but have not become participants in the scheme and it is recommended that such organisations participate in the future.
The Horizon2020 funded EURECA project – a consortium comprising the University of East London, Data Centre Alliance, green IT Amsterdam, Carbon3IT, Certios, Maki Consulting, Telecity and CBRE Norland – has reviewed all the data centre standards globally, and has constructed a definitive list of current best practice covering all related aspects, including energy efficiency.
This project is designed to give public-sector-funded organisations advice and guidance to make better data centre/server room/equipment room procurement decisions and allows five days of free consultancy for qualifying organisations.
One idea is to have a mandatory list of ISO’s or other guidelines that must be in place for public sector data centres
One of EURECA’s activities is to recommend potential policy development to the EU. While nothing has been finalised at present, one idea is to have a mandatory list of ISO’s or other guidelines that must be in place for public sector data centres; this will include cloud or outsourced digital service contracts in third party data centres. Thus energy efficiency will be a decision-making factor in public sector procurement contracts and it will be incumbent on those third party data centre organisations to be compliant with the policy.
The EURECA tool is being designed to allow public sector procurement and technical staff to provide data that applies to their facility with a view to providing technical and potentially financial output so to what they should do next, be it a refurb, outsource or new build. If your organisation is publicly funded and is seeking assistance with a data centre, this might be your EURECA moment!
The green grid, which comprises many members that originate within the EU, is reviewing its Data Centre Maturity Model (DCMM), which was first created in 2010 and was designed to provide a thought-provoking five year roadmap for the data centre. Unhappily, many facilities are still five years away, although some would say 10 or even 20 years away for some older facilities. However, the DCMM is a very useful tool, as it allows organisations to benchmark where they are now and to see where they could be in 5/10/20 years time.
Our international cousins have various guidelines and best practices, the most important are the International Standards Organisation’s (ISO) these are as follows: ISO31032, ISO 30133, ISO30134-1, ISO30134-2, and InISO 30134-3. These Standards are due to, if they haven’t already, be published very shortly.
Other Standards that are of interest and useful in our quest to be energy efficient, include: ISO9001:2015 and ISO14001:2015. Some technical standards that we think should be included in all data centre accreditation plans are ISO22301:2012 and ISO27001:2013. Finally, but not the least, is the ISO 50001:2013, which defines how you can adopt good management practice perhaps using the EUCOC and DCMM in a defined structure to continually improve your use of energy across the organisation.
You can of course get certified to the ISOs listed above and these are well worth having on your marketing and sales literature as they define professional status and approach that is internationally recognised.
Formal energy efficiency accreditations
The last area is formal energy efficiency accreditations, the first being the DCA’s certification system. This is aligned with the EN50600 and covers resilience or class level, security aspects, energy efficiency aspects and operational management aspects. There are currently two data centres certified in the UK, with more in the pipeline.
Another accreditation is the Certified Energy Efficient Data Centre Award (CEEDA), this is based upon the EUCOC, DCMM and uses the green grid metrics and is ratified by the BCS, Chartered institute for IT.
Obtaining any externally recognised accreditation, certification or award is always good, but when the world is looking for ways to mitigate and adapt to the very real threat of climatic change, it makes sense to ensure that your organisation’s ICT systems are backed by IT companies that are seen to manage the threat.
This article first appeared in Data Centre Management, Spring 2016