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Prototyping the most energy and cost efficient data center in the world: The Boden Type Data Center

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BodenTypeDC (Prototyping the most energy and cost efficient data center in the world: The Boden Type Data Center)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-03-31

An international consortium - consisting of Hungarian data center engineering company H1 Systems, British cooling manufacturer EcoCooling specialising in the design of fresh air cooling systems, German research institute Fraunhofer IOSB, Swedish research institute RISE SICS North and infrastructure developer Boden Business Agency - has been awarded with funding from EU’s H2020 program to build and validate an efficient research data center facility.
The objective of the program is to create, test and validate a prototype that is both energy and cost efficient so that fully or in part the concept can be applied in the future around Europe. The prototype is called BodenType Data Center – and the first data center will be named BodenType DC One.
The need for more efficient data centers is driven by the competition and environmental implications. The market of data centers is growing dynamically. Data centers are becoming an integrated part of data services. The main drivers for growth are cloud computing, data analytics, big data, internet of things (IoT), multimedia applications, virtualization, and many other digital services. Data centers have become critical infrastructure for society, therefore safety, reliability, availability are at the core of the prototype design and operation. However, data centers have a negative environmental impact by increasing energy consumption and wasting heat.
To increase both energy and cost efficiency, we apply a novel building design approach. It includes a modular data center design and fresh-air cooling systems combined with evaporative cooling apparatus, operating on solely harmonic free renewable energy, and using no UPS capacity.
Aside from the building design, the characteristics of the IT workloads on the data center and how it is distributed over the available resources have a major impact on both the energy consumed and metrics such as the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). The objective from the perspective of the data center is to minimize end-use energy demand required to achieve the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and to simultaneously maximize the revenue. Load balancing strategies can be applied to optimize when computing resources are used as a means of reducing energy and assessing different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
BodenTypeDC aims to address the relationship between various benchmark workloads and energy effectiveness and the development of application profiles to be characterized with benchmark workload patterns. Various test schedules and measurements will be performed in the prototype data center to prove its energy efficiency and to optimize the infrastructure. These experiments will also have the objective of validating the benchmark workload patterns.
The special objectives of our project are to:
- validate that our innovative data center concept meets the energy efficiency, financial, reliability and other targets in near operational and real operational environments,
- validate and improve the software tools for modelling and simulating the operation of the facility and cooling equipment as well as the associated capital and operational costs,
- demonstrate the results in a “living lab” in a real environment to customers, end-users and other stakeholders,
- demonstrate through accurate simulation that BodenType DC can be replicated in other European states with less favourable climatic conditions.
The work is organised into six work packages (WP) - management (WP1), prototype construction and operation (WP2), modelling and benchmarking (WP3), modelling energy and other environmental variables, validating (WP4), prototype testing (WP5), communication and dissemination (WP6).
In the first 18 months of the project we have followed the planned work schedule. The construction of the prototype building has been completed and the test operation of the facility has now commenced (WP2). We have developed the workload tools and the workloads that feed the DC (WP3), elaborated the test schedule of the data center and set up a measurement and data collection system (WP5), identified and signed contracts with a testing partner and managed the communication and dissemination processes (WP6). The work was distributed among the above work packages, which is being coordinated by the project management (WP1).
The goal of the project is to build the prototype of a data center that has a reduced impact on the environment and to society than that of a traditional data center’s construction and operation. The measured PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness – a key metric for data center energy efficiency) is less than 1.05 in most of the test period, which is strong evidence of the effectiveness of the end-sue energy consumption of the facility.
In line with another goal of the project, the Coordinator has initiated ongoing Innovation Panels to identify and bring innovation ideas to the project. These ideas are to be turned into implementation, whitepapers and scientific papers. According to the experts of the consortium some of the current ideas are novel, but have yet to be implemented and published.
As a result of the above the prototype data center will be analyzed to provide evidence that would enable considerable changes in the design, planning, construction, integration and operation of smaller data centers in the Nordics and other parts of Europe.
The outputs from the innovation panels are preliminary and fruitful discussions are still ongoing, but outside of the methods and processes of adopting cost efficiencies in the construction of the BodenType DC, there are some potential innovations around integration across disciplines. Namely, combining data center cooling with IT server cooling in a novel way – achievable because of the types of servers that have been deployed and the integration approach of the cooling adopted here. Producing more realistic IT workloads in the data center offering improves strategies for resource utilization. The development of such ideas into the working prototype will be an important topic of discussion with the Advisory Board.
The data center sector is anticipating a need for smaller data centers to offer responsive services closer to the edge of the network – closer to the users and devices. It is imperative for Europe to have access to flexible and modular construction, and cost and energy efficient operation of small data centers that can provide socio-economic benefits to Europe’s digital future.
BodenTypeDC One