Setting the Direction
As a measured response to the energy challenges that the EU faces, the European Union's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has released a code of conduct for Data Centres (Code). Version 1.0 was released in October 2008. Data Centres have been singled out specifically as they have been identified as high users of energy and with that goes carbon emissions. The EU is addressing both issues of managing energy resources and consumption and the reduction of carbon emissions in line with its responsibilities under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
The aim of the EU Code of Conduct is to encourage companies with Data Centres to cost-effectively reduce energy consumption while ensuring business objectives are met.
Best Practice Recommendations
To achieve its aims, the EU Code of Conduct establishes a basis of recognised best practice and a framework of operation for the design, operation, maintenance and retiring of Data Centres.
The recommended best practice associated with the EU Code of Conduct has been split into seven distinct areas:
- Data Centre Utilisation, Management and Planning
- IT Equipment and Services
- Data Centre Power Equipment
- Other Data Centre Equipment
- Data Centre Building
Figure:1 Power Breakdown of the Data Centre
As a primary driver for the existence of the Code, Figure 1 presents an overview of the demand for power in the datacentre and the graphical breakdown shows approximations of power usage by type.
Integrating into the existing environment
Although the EU Code of Conduct provides a framework for establishment of best practice, it complements ITIL and other process oriented frameworks that could be employed in the Data Centre. This is important as to gain acceptance the Code must work seamlessly with existing process management systems in order to meet its key objectives.
How to get involved
Adherence to the EU Code of Conduct is through its voluntary acceptance and implementation of its principles. The acceptance of the Code can be recognised formally by the EU through a scheme of participation. To obtain recognition, a formal application process is undergone with the EU JRC. The process sets out the rules and eligibility statements for acceptance as a 'Participant'.
To gain Participant status a strong commitment to the aims of the EU Code of Conduct is required and it is considerably likely that this will entail a measured and considered programme of change to evolve the participating Data Centre towards adoption of the Code's objectives. Refer to Participant for further information.
As a purely voluntary scheme, there are no penalties incurred if compliance with the EU Code of Conduct is not achieved, and resignation from the scheme can be taken at any time.
A similar approach exists for manufacturers, vendors, consultants and other interested organisations who have embraced the Code. Endorser status applies to organisations who are implementing its ethos into products, or services that are aimed at helping Participants to achieve their obligations under the Code. Being an Endorser is also voluntary, but as Participants and 'Green-IT'-oriented companies look for vendors with similar aspirations, commercial benefits of being an Endorser will become apparent. Refer to Endorsers for further information.
Crystal Ball Time
Version 1.0 is the first release of the EU Code of Conduct and subsequent revisions will enhance the best practice guidelines, however, as the EU focusses more on the issue of energy, its use, management and security of supply, we may eventually see the Code increase in its importance and dependent on its take up and participation by Data Centre operators and endorsement by the products and service community it may potentially become enshrined within EU legislation.
Dimension 85 specialises in helping companies maximise their energy efficiency and reduce costs through the recommendations of the EU Code of Conduct. Assessor has been developed for this need and is an online software tool that provides consulting expertise to enable an organisation run their own benchmarks, monitor the energy consumption and work with key data centre metrics, which are the key requirements of the European Code of Conduct on Data Centre Energy Efficiency.
Contact Dimension 85 for further information.