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How Green is the Cloud?

January 4, 2012 • EMERGING TRENDS, BUSINESS & INNOVATION, SPECIAL FEATURES, Digital Transformation, Unprotected Post

By Kfir Godrich, VP & Managing Principal for HP Technology Services

While many industry researchers present wildly differing ROI metrics for how a move to cloud computing will result in savings of anywhere from 30 to 50% into the 2020 timeframe, you need to take a closer look under the hood to understand the real total cost of ownership (TCO) picture. A “pareto” approach will start with how much can be attributed to virtualization efforts, how much can be gained through “bursting” techniques, and how much is related to actual changes in utilization and applications behavior?

But how green is this Cloud move overall?

Interestingly enough, at a conference where I recently spoke in Europe, the perspective of a majority of attendees was that the Cloud is green and will create significant savings for IT. However, it has been my view that — for organizations that have Cloud strategies — being green isn’t central to the Cloud strategy, and only comes up as part of the IaaS discussion. Overall, the majority of Data Centers built today with intentions to be green, or as high as possible on the ladder of the LEED-equivalent standards. While most of the projects are shooting high, mostly for good PR reasons, that has a price tag as high as 5-7% (as a percentage of the total build costs), most are ending with a basic level of certification for less than 1% investment.

While green concerns may not rate as high as security in terms of importance for the CIO, once a Cloud strategy is in place it will certainly be in the center of attention.

The next layer that is drawing a great deal of attention in the industry nowadays relates to Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM), in large part due to the fact that is introducing unprecedented clarity in the operation and management of the Data Center.

Introducing smart technologies is great though must be part of the main strategy – I can’t see an organization taking advantage of the Cloud without meaning it. Certainly not everybody is comfortable calling the “C” word, in this case the approach is typically to utilize business units segmentation, such that only parts of the business is set for potential Cloud integration in the most straightforward way. It is also expected that these segments will be lower in availability requirements as well significantly more sustainable. The additional element to take advantage from will be the enabling systems for the Cloud that in the past participated less in the whole green picture – HP CloudSystem is a great example of such enabler. Overall, while green concerns may not rate as high as security in terms of importance for the CIO, once a Cloud strategy is in place it will certainly get put squarely into the center of attention.

 

Renewables for a Sustainable Future

The global market for renewable energy has been booming over the last several years. These technologies, such as photovoltaics (PV), wind or fuel cells, are a viable option, not only for limited mission-critical applications, but also for large-scale utility projects. Renewables are taking their potential from the Micro-Grid level to the Smart Grid level. Visiting Spain over the summer, I was personally very impressed with the advanced development of PV and wind power in the Andalusia region. It came as no surprise to me later to learn that Spain has almost a quarter of the European wind production with about 20MW installed capacity. During my travels to China in the last several years, I’ve seen a major expansion of renewable energy in the country, as China promises to lead the world’s Smart Grid initiatives. As evidence of this direction, this year China took world leadership in the field by exceeding 40GW in installed based for wind power.

Project Moonshot demonstrates that by utilizing extremely low power servers, such as HP’s Redstone, Data Center requires significantly lower footprint, less power, cabling and much lower cost.

My own presentations on the Renewables topic have been met with a great deal of interest. About 10 years ago when, as a Senior Member of the IEEE Power Engineering Society, I stated that soon Power Engineering will fall by the wayside as a profession as it has been all but totally abandoned by Western Universities higher education systems as Electrical Engineering departments choose to concentrate instead in areas, such as Wireless Communications, Signal Processing and other “cool” topics. But Government incentives for infrastructure and renewable power over the last several years have changed the industry focus. Suddenly, Smart Grid and Renewables have captured the technology limelight over all other engineering trades. Moreover, this is a trend in the making as worldwide utility companies are just at the beginning of their transformation while the Sustainability movement is slowly moving into the business mainstream.

Nonetheless, this hasn’t been without major setbacks and disappointments. When Solyndra, a solar company that had received government financing filed for bankruptcy a couple of months ago, it was feared to bring about a “domino” effect on other such concerns. Following that, Beacon Power filed for bankruptcy. A spin off of the rotary UPS company StaCon, Beacon Power has a great high-speed flywheel technology utilizing carbon fiber cylinders to get to 16kRPM. While there hasn’t been significant growth in rotary machine applications since the Telecom boom days, this technology has good potential for stabilizing and backing up the DC link of the flourishing Renewables market. For example, Beacon’s largest project included 200 flywheels supporting 20MW load (applications in the range of app. $2MM/MW).

Nevertheless, it may take even greater incentives to make it easier to expand the Renewables marketplace. Due to the current global financial market situation, it’ll be a steep road to climb for the development and introduction of new technologies and slower than expected in certain geographies. There is no alternative than to have a successful Renewables market for a bright future for the Sustainability movement in our society. A shining star in this direction is Bloomenergy, a company that took Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technology in a total unexpected direction, able to support microgrid to Smart Grid sustainable applications, with relatively high efficiency and very appealing TCO in various geographies.

 

HP Project Moonshot delivers Data Center Sustainability

While several years ago the IT industry rallied around the introduction of a common definition for Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE = Total Facility Power/IT Equipment Power), there has since been a lot of criticism of this measure from all sides.

While many on the facility side are working to minimize the power and cooling chains to the IT equipment, relatively little has been done on the IT equipment side itself. A typical Data Center runs with a PUE value of two in most cases. Optimizing data center operations might bring that number as low as 1.6, and new Data Centers are generally designed to be in the range of 1.4-1.6 (possibly as low as 1.2 for extremely rare designs). PUE reduction is perceived by many as an energy efficiency measure rather than a significant step toward sustainability.

 

Enter HP Project Moonshot

Green IT faded from most analysts’ Top 10 predictions in the last two years. However, in 2012, this might change. Finally there’s an innovation that can affect the denominator of the PUE definition and can lead towards real sustainability for the Data Center. Enter HP’s Project Moonshot.

HP helps global clients set the foundation for a more agile service delivery model, while integrating critical facilities, server, storage, networking, and management resources to deliver the data center and distributed IT environment of the future.

Project Moonshot demonstrates that by utilizing extremely low power servers, such as HP’s Redstone, Data Center requires significantly lower footprint, less power, cabling and much lower cost. Assuming a Data Center module of 10k sf, a typical x86 environment operated at 9.1KW per rack will utilize 3.64MW. The capital expense (facility and systems) for a Tier 3 facility is estimated to be $195.5MM. In most cases, this type of infrastructure would be running in environment with PUE>1.2. However, using HP’s low-power Redstone servers, the same compute power only requires 500sf, consuming 0.38MW, with x40 fewer cables, and with a Tier 3 capital expense of $54.8MMNeedless to say, further dramatic reductions in cost (TCO) could be achieved with EcoPods or FlexDC solutions.

Project Moonshot is very promising from the standpoint of TCO (currently the lowest on the market), and is a significant step towards Data Center Sustainability. It makes it easier for our consultants to not only show customers how they can benefit from introducing a low PUE solution to their Data Center, but it also allows them to take that PUE denominator down by utilizing extremely low power servers. Can you imagine continuing that journey and taking it to other fabrics?

 

HP and the Cloud

The world is instant. Today, everything is mobile, connected, interactive, immediate, and fluid. It takes an enterprise that embeds technology into everything it does or delivers in order to out serve citizens, partners, employees, and clients. This is one of the driving forces behind the recent rise in the use of cloud computing.

HP CloudSystem is one of the most complete, integrated, open platforms that enables enterprises and service providers to build and manage services across private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. Based on proven, market-leading HP Cloud Service Automation (CSA) and Converged Infrastructure, HP CloudSystem combines servers, storage, networking, security and management to automate the application to infrastructure lifecycle for hybrid service delivery management. The result is a complete cloud solution that lets enterprises gain agility and speed, and allows service providers to drive top-line growth.

As your Customers demand that their needs be met instantly, so today’s data centers must be powered to meet these diversified demands. HP helps global clients set the foundation for a more agile service delivery model, while integrating critical facilities, server, storage, networking, and management resources to deliver the data center and distributed IT environment of the future. Our unique programmatic approach includes:

• Design for implementing cloud or “Instant-On” types of services

Consult to create strategy and roadmap for Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Delivery and Data Center Sourcing Options

High levels of modularity for scalability and flexibility of IT and Critical Facilities infrastructure

Tight correlation between IT and data center (DC) facilities within an operational framework

Solve problems associated with the differing objectives of internal stakeholders

Includes an operational lifecycle model with a step-by-step path to follow

And Data Center Continuous Improvement Services and Disaster Recovery Strategy to assure reliable operations.

Our clients look to HP as a trusted advisor who understands where their business is headed and the technology decisions needed to get there. Combining technology intelligence and know-how with business intelligence, our service professionals have been helping organizations across the globe meet their evolving needs. Connect with our service experts to explore ways to do more with your technology investments; visit www.hp.com/go/tsconnect/

 

About the author

Kfir Godrich is VP and Managing Partner of HP Technology Services, leading the Global Innovation Office to drive the technology roadmap for the division. Over the last 20 years, Godrich has provided strategic consulting services to public sector and global financial, technology and telecommunications industry clients, including pioneering cloud computing strategies to a host of Fortune 50 companies.

As a frequent spokesman on sustainability with numerous technical publications, Godrich’s focus has been on creating high-efficiency Data Center topologies supporting “Green IT.” He has been involved in designs of alternative energy solutions based on geothermal, wind, PEM and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Photovoltaics, flywheels and Micro-Turbines implementations, and his IP spans Flexible Data Centers, DC-Based Data Center Power Architecture and close convergence of IT and alternative energy.

Godrich received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Ben Gurion University, and is a doctoral candidate at the Polytechnic University in New York. Godrich was the initiator of the American National Standards Institute’s Homeland Security Standards Panel Task Force, where he identified, reviewed and made recommendations on key guidelines in the power security and continuity for national homeland security. Godrich is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and HP SWAT IT; a member of National Society of Professional Engineers, 7X24 Exchange and Association of Energy Engineers; and a reviewer for Applied Power Electronics Conference and the IEEE Power & Energy Society Power Delivery and Energy Conversion transactions. For more information on HP, visit www.hp.com

 

Contact Information
Kfir Godrich, VP & Managing Principal for HP Technology Services,

[email protected]
Ivan Jascur, Strategy Lead for HP Critical Facilities Services EMEA,

[email protected]

 

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