Category Archives: Green Computing/Clean Tech

The Future IoT and Energy Collaborations

The Future IoT and Energy Collaborations

IoT and Energy Collaborations 

The Internet of Things (IoT) was a key topic at this year’s Cleantech Forum, which took place in San Francisco at the end of January, and it seems both entrepreneurs and investors are confident the sector has a bright and profitable future. Hand in hand with the keenly pursued energy storage discussions, Green Charge Networks’ CEO Vic Shao predicts, “2016 will be the year of deployment for storage.” The potential for IoT solutions to be utilized in the energy environment is creating new opportunities, encouraging efficiencies, boosting productivity, and promoting economic growth.

Balancing Gains with Costs

Joe Costello, CEO of Enlighted, which won North American Company of the Year and was named in the 2015 Global Cleantech 100, suggests IoT provides innovative business tools along with cost reduction and environmental benefits. Says Costello, “Our clients who use the sensor technology save 50 to 75% of their energy costs,” though he notes that the high capital costs associated with implementing sensor technology have stalled growth. “This type of technology does require a large amount of capital. Small companies would require around $10 million, and large companies $100 million to implement our system.”

Markets both Large and Small

IBM-Logo

The benefits of IoT crosses from small organizations to large, and IBM is one of the larger companies making IoT a priority for their business. “IoT is a major priority for IBM and is one of the new businesses that we have created as the company continues to innovate. IoT holds out the promise of more granular monitoring and optimization of process performance in just about any context – therefore, it will become integral to resource efficiency as one aspect of performance,” says Peter Williams, CTO of Big Green Innovations, IBM. And IBM isn’t only employing IoT in its business activities but is also utilizing the technology to improve the operations within its buildings, data centers, and manufacturing processes.

In less advanced tech economies such as Africa, the benefits of IoT are perhaps even greater, i.e. enabling the use of mobile power. M-KOPA Solar uses IoT for performance management and solar system metering and has connected over 300,000 East African homes to solar power. Says CEO Jesse Moore, “What’s exciting and perhaps unexpected is the fact that IoT is enabling low-income, off-grid customers to leapfrog straight to solar power.” Additional IoT benefits in this field include data collection and analysis, translated into improved customer service. States Moore, “Data coming back from our solar systems tells us when a customer’s rooftop panel is in the shade, so we can advise them to move it to a better location. To be able to remotely support customers in remote and rural parts of East Africa is a magical thing!

Latest Developments

With the bright prospects of the sector, we’re likely to see innovations and evolutions happening at a rapid pace. ARM Holdings, a major player in the IoT industry with estimated shipping of over 60 billion chips incorporating its cores, has just released a new, tiny core for IoT and Wearables.

IoFit-shoes

Furthermore, day 1 of the Mobile World Congress 2016 has proved to be about more than mobile phones, with Epson Moverio Smart Glasses offering augmented reality features and the ability to control drones, and Iofit smart shoes featuring built-in pressure sensors that could improve your golfing skills or make you a better weightlifter.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Microsoft Underwater Data Center To Be Tested

Microsoft Underwater Data Center To Be Tested

Microsoft Underwater Data Center

The sea is everything” Jules Verne

Microsoft, believing that the sea holds the key to their future, has tested a self-contained data center that operates far below the surface of the ocean. The key to this study is the millions that it will save on the industry’s most expensive problem, air-conditioning.

Going Underwater

Thousands of computer servers generate a lot of heat, and continuing to maintain them effectively and efficiently is the reason for considering water as a cooling medium. Too much heat causes servers to crash, whereas, the possibility of running underwater servers could not only cool them, but cause them to run even faster.

Code-named Project Natick, the answer might lead to giant steel tubes running fiber optic cables on the bottom of the ocean floor. Another option would be to capture the ocean currents with smaller turbines, encapsulated in small jellybean type shapes that would generate the electricity needed for cooling.

Other Options

With the exponential growth of technologies including the Internet of Things, centralized computing will be a bigger demand in the future. With more than 100 data centers currently, Microsoft is spending more than $15 billion to add more to their global data systems.

While Microsoft is looking to underwater locations to meet their growing computing needs, there are other companies who have found other unusual locations and ways to build data centers, while taking advantage of differing resources.

server-cool

The SuperNap Data Center, a $5 billion dollar, 2 million square foot facility in Michigan is located in the former Steelcase office building. Switch built the SuperNap Data Center in Grand Rapids within the 7 story pyramid shaped building that features a glass and granite exterior. It will be one of the largest data centers found in the eastern U.S.

Nautilus Data Technologies have developed floating data centers turning to the sea as well. They have recently announced their first project The Waterborne Data Center. They believe that their approach to cooling their data will save Americans who are spending currently over $13 billion a year. According to Arnold Magcale, CEO and co-founder, Nautilus Data Technologies, “The Nautilus proof of concept prototype exceeded all expectations – validating how our waterborne approach will provide the most cost effective, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable data center on the market.”

At a more clandestine location, but also incorporates water as a cooling mechanism, Academica, designed a hidden underground data center to use pumped seawater to cool the servers. An added bonus is that the heat generated from the cooling process, provides heat to over 500 local homes before being regenerated back to the sea.

The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence.” Jules Verne

By Tina Rose

Smart Connected Cities Must Learn To Efficiently Collaborate

Smart Connected Cities Must Learn To Efficiently Collaborate

Smart City Collaboration

A study from research firm Gartner demonstrates how smart and connected cities require a large number of players to collaborate efficiently, in order to unlock the huge potential associated with cities of the future. The study focused on Europe and showed clearly how a number of Northern European and Scandinavian mid-size cities have excelled in laying the groundwork of a sustainable, clean framework for growth and development, particularly in countries such as Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

The study looked at six arenas of life in order to draw its conclusions: Smart Government, Smart Mobility, Smart Living, Smart People, Smart Economy and Smart Environment. Each of those were then broken down further in order to draw some conclusions. For example, the category of Smart Economy looked at the levels of entrepreneurship in the city, productivity as well as the local and global connectedness of that particular economy. (The city of Luxembourg was found to have the Smartest Economy in 2015.)

smart-cities-infographic

(Image Source via Raconteur)

It’s interesting to note that when a city gets it right in one particular arena of smart connectivity, then it tends to get it right in others as well. There is a knock-on effect which raises standards across the entire city. So the city of Aarhus in Denmark was rated second best in the category of Smart Economy, third best for Smart People and also third in Smart Mobility, which made it the second best smart city overall for Europe behind Luxembourg and just ahead of Umea, Sweden.

Smart Governance

On a global scale, smart governance has been the most widely adopted of the new technologies. Nearly 25% of cities are embracing issues like e-governance, transparency and open data and the enabling of supply and demand-side policies. On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 8.7% of cities are making strides in creating smart mobility, which includes mixed-modal access, prioritization of clean and non-motorized options and integrated ICT. But it’s become clear in cities like Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Salzburg, Austria that we’re only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ride-sharing, smart vehicles and connected transport hubs sharing information about departure and arrival times.

smart-growth

When it comes to the Internet of Things and the number of items which have been connected in smart cities, this trend is set to dramatically increase over the next twenty four months, particularly in the arena of smart homes and smart buildings. The number of devices connected nearly doubled during 2015, from 294.2 million to 586.1 million and is set to double again during 2017 up to a whopping 1067 million connected things.

The arena of health is one area where the least progress has been made. The number of connected health devices was at 9.7 million during 2015 but manages to climb up to only 23.4 million by next year. It’s still impressive growth year-on-year, but it’s coming off a much lower base.

The report is bullish about the implications of all this smart technology, and predicts a staggering 26 billion connected devices by 2020. “The uniting of technology with the city doesn’t have to bring Metropolis-esque nightmares of the machine dominating man,” concludes the report. “In fact, the Internet of Things is set to empower city dwellers and create investment opportunities for businesses; to the tune of $1.56 trillion by 2020.”

By Jeremy Daniel

Going Green With Big Data And The Cloud

Going Green With Big Data And The Cloud

Green Technologies 

Amazon has just launched its fourth renewable energy program, increasing its data centers’ use of green power thanks to a new wind farm to be built in rural Paulding County, Ohio. Starting in May 2017, this green plant will generate 320,000-megawatt hours of electricity yearly, specifically to provide power to Amazon’s cloud data centers. But investment in green technology isn’t the only way IT giants are promoting a greener world – the Cloud and Big Data are making their own meaningful impact.

clean-tech

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Cloud as a Green Solution

  • Pay for Use: Cloud infrastructure is typically pay-as-you-go, encouraging users to consume only what they need and turn off resources not in operation. This encourages both energy and resource efficiency as users only consume what they need.
  • Virtualization for Efficiency: The underlying technology for deploying cloud-based infrastructure, virtualization, enables one physical server to run multiple OS images simultaneously. This reduces physical server footprint, an inherently green advantage. Resource efficiency is another benefit, with the less equipment needed reducing data center space, energy consumption, and e-waste footprint.
  • Automation for Consolidation: Automation software allows for the rapid provision, moving and scaling of workloads in cloud-based infrastructures, and a combination of the required skills and architectural standards with automation lets IT professionals efficiently exploit cloud resources by pushing the limits of utilization ratios and traditional consolidations. The higher these ratios, the less physical infrastructure required, the better the energy efficiency.
  • Multitenancy: With many different organizations using the same cloud-based infrastructure, the peaks and troughs of computation demand flatten out, lowering the ratio between peak and average loads. This reduces the need for redundant infrastructure providing substantial efficiencies and economies of scale in infrastructure resources and energy use.

Greener Big Data

  • Agricultural Productivity: Apigee and aWhere have teamed up to help smallholder farmers increase productivity and reduce waste. Investment in agricultural tech innovation has been enormous this year, but few tools are targeting smallholder farmers. aWhere, a corporation specializing in data intelligence for agriculture, is pairing with software development platform company Apigee to address this need, using cell phones to provide necessary data around weather forecasts, weather patterns, and regional market conditions.
  • Energy Preservation through Analytics: Big Data used correctly by communities, states, or even entire nations can help government preserve energy resources and ensure self-sufficiency. Big Data also encourages companies to improve energy preservation while finding new sources of energy.
  • Balancing Micro and Macro: IoT sensor-equipped devices are providing more data than ever, leading to a better understanding of resource usages such as water, energy, and cooling, and so encouraging efficient scaling of systems.

The Outlook

Though IT managers often don’t consider green tech a priority, Big Data and Cloud Computing is already inspiring the change. Research suggests that these fields will continue to develop green environments, and by 2016 the global market for green data centers is predicted to grow to over $45 billion.

By Jennifer Klostermann

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Overhead Reduction

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Overhead Reduction

Virtual Office

By Rick Menard

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Dramatic Advances Of Data Center And Cloud In The Nordic Region

Dramatic Advances Of Data Center And Cloud In The Nordic Region

Benefits of the Nordic Region

As this year’s Datacloud Nordic event draws near, a fresh report revealing increased growth due to new demands, builds and market entrants in the Nordic region has been released. BroadGroup’s details suggest that investment across the region, both local and international, will be substantial due to the abundance of green energy resources, lower power costs, tax incentives, comprehensive connectivity, and efficient natural cooling availability.

The region’s rewards as a data center location due to the abundance of renewable energy stem particularly from hydro-electric and wind power advances, and the additional advantages of incentives offered by inward investment agencies, a well-educated workforce, and favorable standards of governance, round off the offering. Industrial electricity pricing in the Nordic Region is the lowest in the EU-28 countries, and costs as low as €0.03kW/h (excluding taxes) have been noted.

Over the next three years, it’s estimated that the Nordic region will receive an estimated €3.3 billion in data center investment, with approximately half originating from international internet organizations. By the end of 2017, the market for third-party data centers is expected to increase nearly two and a half times in square meterage, and triple power requirements.

Datacloud Nordic 1

Apple Data Centers in Viborg, Central Jutland

Earlier this year, Apple announced it would be building one of the largest data centers in the world in Denmark, powering services such as iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage and Siri with 100% renewable energy. It’s estimated that a combined total of €1.7 billion will be spent establishing and operating two separate data centers, one in central Jutland of Viborg, and the other in County Galway, Ireland. Says Denmark’s trade and development minister, Mogens Jensen,I warmly welcome this investment by Apple, which will give a significant boost to the Danish economy. An investment like this confirms that Denmark has managed to strike the right balance between an ambitious and climate-friendly energy policy and a world-class business environment.

Lefdal Mine Datacenter

A Norwegian mine is set to house Europe’s biggest data center, and Lefdal Mine has signed IBM and Friedhelm LOH Group to be its first tenants. Both businesses have worked on the development of the facility, and will take occupation in August 2016. The data center will open to other clients from October 2016. Covering over 120,000 square meters and spread over six levels, the majority of the mine’s levels are arranged in a grid pattern, connected by a 1,300-meter spiral access road. This road is large enough for two-way traffic by trailers carrying standard transport containers. Developed by Rittal, the modular system used for both the racks and in the containers permits a high degree of standardization, and containers need only be connected to power, comms and cooling supplies for service to begin.

Datacloud Nordic 2015

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On the 15th of October 2015, Datacloud Nordic will take place at the Scandic Fornebu Hotel, Oslo, Norway. Registration is now open for the event that will evaluate the scalability, energy, architecture, security and software challenges that confront data centers, while industry experts and top players debate how organizations can successfully accomplish the transitions to cloud. As the Nordic region shows dramatic progress in the data center and cloud markets, this event is a must for all market participants.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Growing Data Center Investment In Green Power And Innovative Cooling Technologies

Growing Data Center Investment In Green Power And Innovative Cooling Technologies

Growing Data Center Investment 

Nordic Data Centers

With Nordic countries having swiftly established themselves as ideal locations for Data Center investment, green power, and innovative cooling technologies, a network of new, efficient, and agile data centers have been constructed from Reykjavik to Helsinki, and the North Poe to Viborg. Considerable projects by major corporations such as Facebook, Apple, IBM, Google, Yandex, and Bitcoin have highlighted the significant opportunities for outsourcing and investment in the area.

map

Distinct Advantages

Uniquely connected with high speed, cyber secure submarine data pipes that run underneath the Baltic Sea and around the northern coast of Scandinavia, as well as high latency connectivity to the United States, and fiber connections networking Germany and the rest of Europe, this high-tech location also boasts a thriving startup arena providing new solutions and innovations backed by the specialist information technology workforce of the region. With the provision of high quality hosting facilities, cloud services, secure data storage and backup, and long-term fixed price green power contracts that comply with CSR requirements, the benefits for organizations small and large are substantial.

Collaboration & Networking

This year’s Datacloud Nordic is an opportunity for end users of data centers and cloud IT infrastructure, software and solution providers, experts and investors, to engage in the expansion of the sector, with the one-day forum offering information exchange, extensive networking opportunities, and the option to travel to and view power supply and government facilities in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark.

IoT, the Cloud & Green Energy

Datacloud Nordic 2015 will offer companies seeking better methods of hosting and collocating new insights into the reality of a cloud-connected, data-driven, machine-led world, and will explore the latest technologies while regional and international senior executives and expert speakers meet, connect, and collaborate. With the conference providing extensive insight into energy cost and management, enterprise IT control, application management and performance, internet of things, scalability of cloud technologies, cyber security, experts and industry leaders address questions around how the Nordic markets will sustain competitive service and energy offerings, what capacity and connectivity is available across markets as migration to third party facilities rises, and who will be the winners and losers across the Nordic markets.

Big Data

The data center, central to today’s business world, will have an integral role in the event. With data center services critical to operations and primed for radical transformation thanks to high levels of demand, industry leaders, experts, and investors will debate and collaborate on where the next mega data center deals are likely to come from. Challenges that confront companies adapting to a cloud environment, such as advanced security requirements, managing the transformation to cloud brokerages, workload migration, and energy efficiency will be faced, with a view to cost savings through innovation, especially in Big Data.

Datacloud Nordic 2015

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To be held October 15th, 2015 at the Scandic Fornebu Hotel in Oslo, Norway, advanced discounts to the event close on the 11th September, 2015. With participants ranging from investment analysts to telcos, cloud service providers to country and regional development authorities, private equity firms and investors to large construction and project management companies, Datacloud Nordic 2015 promises a wealth of networking and business opportunities around IT infrastructure in Nordic markets.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Green Technology And The Cloud Industry

Green Technology And The Cloud Industry

Green Technologies

Global warming and climate change are on top of world’s list of concerns and one of the reasons is our dependence on dirty energy from fossil fuels. We all consider the transportation sector as the main pollution source of our atmosphere, but is the IT industry really exempted from the blame?

Governments around the globe usually have stringent standards on factory or industrial facility energy consumption and emission while the energy consumption in IT laboratories and data centers is overlooked, with the exception of some universities and research organizations. So there are no standards or laws that are meant to be followed when putting up such facility, which makes this a big problem. Research suggests that a great deal of energy is being wasted during energy conversion from AC to DC and it would cost twice as much, in terms of energy consumption, to cool a server than to run it.

(Infographic Source: abb.com)

Cooling

Let’s say a server is rated at 500W and it runs 24/7; that server would consume 4380KWh per year. Now let’s assume that ten of those servers are running at the same time for every IT company with more than 1,000 employees. The estimated number of those companies given by the census bureau was 2916 in 2007; it could have grown exponentially within the last five years. This gives a rough value of 12,772MWh of energy consumption alone, and twice of that value is used for cooling those servers. That is assuming all companies used the same 500W servers in the same way, but the real-world value could be even greater because there are still many old servers running. And not all of that hardware is being utilized; underutilization is the biggest waste of resource. This is a very big concern, especially since most of that energy is not renewable.

This is where cloud computing and virtualization come in to save the day or decade. Cloud computing uses virtualization to scale resources to infinity, theoretically, while using finite hardware resources. So instead of having 2,916 data centers with 10 servers spread across the U.S., theoretically 2,916 companies could be served by 10 cloud providers running 100 data centers. This means a total annual energy consumption of just 43.8MWh. How’s that for energy savings? That does not even include the savings from cooling and other security measures.

By Abdul Salam

CloudTweaks Comics
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