The Coming ‘C’ Change in Datacenters

By Edward J. Lucente

June 15, 2010

Recently, I was at the Uptime Institute in New York and had several conversations about carbon dioxide (CO2) management for datacenters. Energy consumed by US datacenters in 2010 will reach 3 percent of overall US energy production. This will double in about five years given that the annual growth in datacenter energy consumption is 10 percent. Increases in datacenter CO2 emissions should mirror energy consumption increases since most datacenters will be unable to convert to greener, cleaner, renewable energy sources.

The good folks at the Uptime Institute estimate that datacenter CO2 emissions will quadruple between 2010 and 2020; also that annual global datacenter CO2 emissions are already on par with the CO2 emissions of the airline industry, or even entire countries. Maybe we should put datacenters in airplanes and keep all the CO2 flying around.

Annual CO2 emission comparisons (Mt = thousands of metric tons)

US datacenters   170 Mt
Argentina                142 Mt
Netherlands           146 Mt
Malaysia                  178 Mt

The IT professionals that I spoke with are becoming familiar with their datacenters’ “carbon footprint.” They understand that by managing CO2 emissions they will be better prepared for existing or future greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations. (GHG also includes water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.)

Also, I noticed that a number of application software companies have sprouted up to promote carbon management information systems that deal with issues around CO2 compliance standards, CO2 inventory baselining, and financial management of carbon allowances and credits. Certainly, innovative application solutions will be needed to help datacenter professionals and executives navigate through CO2 management challenges associated with:

  • Compliance.
  • Conservation.
  • Complexity.
  • Cost.
  • Competitiveness.

The federal government will be among the early adopters of carbon management software. The US federal government’s demand for carbon management software is expected to grow from its current level of $36 million to $294 million by 2017, according to a new report by Pike Research.

US Legislation

In the United States, government regulations concerning CO2 include the EPA’s GHG Reporting Rule and the pending Kerry-Lieberman bill, known as “cap and trade.” Under the EPA’s GHG Reporting Rule, suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions are required to submit annual reports to EPA. This would include the largest datacenters, and there is a concern that over time this floor of 25,000 metric tons would be reduced by government. Currently, over a dozen US states are contesting this new EPA law in court, so stay tuned.

The passage of the Kerry-Lieberman bill in 2010 is less certain, especially now with the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is potentially far reaching. If passed, it would require many businesses to measure, monitor, or manage GHG offsets, abatement projects, GHG sources, GHG reporting, carbon prices, and various protocols. This could be a nightmare for datacenter professionals. Just the bill’s preamble scares me, especially the “for other purposes” language:

To secure the energy future of the United States, to provide incentives for the domestic production of clean energy technology, to achieve meaningful pollution reductions, to create jobs, and for other purposes.

Call for Action

I tend to believe that government mandates are less efficient delivery mechanisms than programs developed through private industry and self-regulation; what concerns me is that I have not seen the IT industry take a more proactive, self-regulatory role with regard to managing and minimizing CO2 emissions. Consider these questions:

  • Why should the IT industry wait around for government standards on CO2 emissions?
     
  • Shouldn’t datacenter professionals control and develop their own CO2 management information systems since they understand best their unique IT and business environments?
     
  • Why wouldn’t a CEO, Corporate Sustainability Officer (CSO), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) executive, or CIO want to take more control of their destiny?

As mentioned, IT shops can choose from various application solutions and turn to energy efficiency consultants for additional guidance. Datacenters that reduce their CO2 emissions will also reduce their energy bills (OpEx) and total cost of ownership.

I suggest, therefore, that the IT industry create its own “carbon efficiency consortium” to establish carbon management information standards and solutions aimed at reducing CO2 emissions in datacenters. This would be an industry-led, self-regulatory body that provides thought leadership on CO2 management and shares best practices and recommendations for carbon management.

My bet is that datacenter professionals who develop internal management information systems for carbon management now will achieve significant cost savings ahead of their competitors. It’s not just about a greener planet; it’s about building a sustainable and competitive IT and industry advantage.

About the Author

Edward J. Lucente is vice president of business development at Data Center Rebates, Inc., an IT efficiency consultancy based in Carlsbad, Calif., whose professional services focus on datacenter energy efficiency (DCEE), leasing integrated with technology refreshes, and negotiation of IT energy rebates. Please feel free to email comments to [email protected].

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Army Seeks AI Ground Truth

April 3, 2020

Deep neural networks are being mustered by U.S. military researchers to marshal new technology forces on the Internet of Battlefield Things. U.S. Army and industry researchers said this week they have developed a “c Read more…

By George Leopold

Piz Daint Tackles Marsquakes

April 3, 2020

Even as researchers use supercomputers to probe the mysteries of earthquakes here on Earth, others are setting their sights on quakes just a little farther away. Researchers at ETH Zürich in Switzerland have applied sup Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC Career Notes: April 2020 Edition

April 2, 2020

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

AMD Epyc CPUs Now on Bare Metal IBM Cloud Servers

April 1, 2020

AMD’s expanding presence in the datacenter and cloud computing markets took a step forward with today’s announcement that its 7nm 2nd Gen Epyc 7642 CPUs are now available on IBM Cloud bare metal servers. AMD, whose Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer Testing Probes Viral Transmission in Airplanes

April 1, 2020

It might be a long time before the general public is flying again, but the question remains: how high-risk is air travel in terms of viral infection? In an article for the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), Faith Si Read more…

By Staff report

AWS Solution Channel

Amazon FSx for Lustre Update: Persistent Storage for Long-Term, High-Performance Workloads

Last year I wrote about Amazon FSx for Lustre and told you how our customers can use it to create pebibyte-scale, highly parallel POSIX-compliant file systems that serve thousands of simultaneous clients driving millions of IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) with sub-millisecond latency. Read more…

ECP Milestone Report Details Progress and Directions

April 1, 2020

The Exascale Computing Project (ECP) milestone report issued last week presents a good snapshot of progress in preparing applications for exascale computing. There are roughly 30 ECP application development (AD) subproj Read more…

By John Russell

ECP Milestone Report Details Progress and Directions

April 1, 2020

The Exascale Computing Project (ECP) milestone report issued last week presents a good snapshot of progress in preparing applications for exascale computing. Th Read more…

By John Russell

Pandemic ‘Wipes Out’ 2020 HPC Market Growth, Flat to 12% Drop Expected

March 31, 2020

As the world battles the still accelerating novel coronavirus, the HPC community has mounted a forceful response to the pandemic on many fronts. But these efforts won't inoculate the HPC industry from the economic effects of COVID-19. Market watcher Intersect360 Research has revised its 2020 forecast for HPC products and services, projecting... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

LLNL Leverages Supercomputing to Identify COVID-19 Antibody Candidates

March 30, 2020

As COVID-19 sweeps the globe to devastating effect, supercomputers around the world are spinning up to fight back by working on diagnosis, epidemiology, treatme Read more…

By Staff report

Weather at Exascale: Load Balancing for Heterogeneous Systems

March 30, 2020

The first months of 2020 were dominated by weather and climate supercomputing news, with major announcements coming from the UK, the European Centre for Medium- Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Q&A Part Two: ORNL’s Pooser on Progress in Quantum Communication

March 30, 2020

Quantum computing seems to get more than its fair share of attention compared to quantum communication. That’s despite the fact that quantum networking may be Read more…

By John Russell

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Conversation: ANL’s Rick Stevens on DoE’s AI for Science Project

March 23, 2020

With release of the Department of Energy’s AI for Science report in late February, the effort to build a national AI program, modeled loosely on the U.S. Exascale Initiative, enters a new phase. Project leaders have already had early discussions with Congress... Read more…

By John Russell

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Julia Programming’s Dramatic Rise in HPC and Elsewhere

January 14, 2020

Back in 2012 a paper by four computer scientists including Alan Edelman of MIT introduced Julia, A Fast Dynamic Language for Technical Computing. At the time, t Read more…

By John Russell

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fujitsu A64FX Supercomputer to Be Deployed at Nagoya University This Summer

February 3, 2020

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu announced today that it will supply Nagoya University Information Technology Center with the first commercial supercomputer powered Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tech Conferences Are Being Canceled Due to Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Several conferences scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, including Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) and the Strata Data + AI conference, have Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
ASROCK RACK
ASROCK RACK
AWS
AWS
CEJN
CJEN
CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
IBM
IBM
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Exascale Watch: El Capitan Will Use AMD CPUs & GPUs to Reach 2 Exaflops

March 4, 2020

HPE and its collaborators reported today that El Capitan, the forthcoming exascale supercomputer to be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and serve Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Unveils Latest Achievements in AI Hardware

December 13, 2019

“The increased capabilities of contemporary AI models provide unprecedented recognition accuracy, but often at the expense of larger computational and energet Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

IBM Debuts IC922 Power Server for AI Inferencing and Data Management

January 28, 2020

IBM today launched a Power9-based inference server – the IC922 – that features up to six Nvidia T4 GPUs, PCIe Gen 4 and OpenCAPI connectivity, and can accom Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Joins the Fight Against the Coronavirus

March 6, 2020

With the coronavirus sweeping the globe, tech conferences and supply chains are being hit hard – but now, tech is hitting back. Oak Ridge National Laboratory Read more…

By Staff report

University of Stuttgart Inaugurates ‘Hawk’ Supercomputer

February 20, 2020

This week, the new “Hawk” supercomputer was inaugurated in a ceremony at the High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS). Offici Read more…

By Staff report

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This