The Dutch may have found Columbus egg in saving energy for data centers. Data centers can become much more economical if the servers are put into low-power mode when they are idle. This has emerged from an experiment and is being further investigated in data centers around Amsterdam.
Increasing digitization means more and more data that must be sent and stored. That traffic consumes a lot of energy.
The ING Bank Economics Department expects the electricity required for data to double by 2030. In ten years' time, 5 percent of the global electricity consumption would be needed for this, researchers concluded at the end of 2019. The energy consumption of all Dutch data centers is currently comparable to that of more than 1 million households. To find a solution to this increasing demand, there is now a coalition of companies, knowledge institutions and government institutions that are investigating how this energy use can be reduced.
Supermarket concern Albert Heijn, Booking.com, Telco KPN and Rabobank, among others, are involved in the initiative. Initial experiments have shown that data centers become more energy efficient when customers put their servers on low-power mode when no work is in progress. That is now being investigated further.
In that research, it is first measured to what extent a server uses energy, while no IT work is carried out. Then the energy consumption is considered when the server switches to low-power mode.
Initial experiments have shown that the server performance loss in power save mode is "close to zero". The initiators expect that the energy consumption in data centers can be reduced to 40 percent in the next three years. That would be the energy consumption of 100,000 households in savings.
Used too little
"Think of it as a car idling. That costs energy, "says Marjolein Bot of the Amsterdam Economic Board, one of the initiators of the trial. "The settings to put the servers in low-power mode do not require technological innovation. But data center customers still make too little use of it. "
If saver mode is possible, why isn't it done yet? "IT people are often driven by utilization and performance, not energy consumption," Bot explains. "We want to demonstrate that data center customers can still achieve the utilization rate despite switching to eco mode."
What will the consumer notice? "Nothing," explains Bot. "The transition from power save to action is one 100 thousandth of a second. You don't notice that as a consumer. "In addition, the savings mode also has financial advantages for the customers of the data centers.