BCS calls for power restraint

The British Computer Society (BCS) is calling on data centres owners and operators to tackle growing energy concerns.

The BCS Data Centre specialist group members and other external industry experts have created a white paper stressing the importance of data centre metrics and reviews.

It compares current data centre efficiency metrics in terms of what they are useful for and what information they offer, as well as what metrics are going to be needed in the future in order for businesses to gain effective understanding and control of energy and cost efficiency in their data centre. The paper also proposes a set of analysis methods and metrics for operators to complement the existing industry reporting metrics.

Zahl Limbuwala, chair of the BCS Data Centre specialist group and co-writer of the report, said: "The data centre is a very complex environment that does not really lend itself to simple analysis and measurement. There are no effective standards for what to measure or where and how to measure it."

"To make matters worse, the industry metrics that are gaining some traction are simple reporting measures not intended to compare or benchmark data centres, although they are being used for that very purpose in the absence of more effective analysis metrics," Limbuwala said. "We hope the white paper will explain the reasons why there is still much more work to be done in this area."

He added that the group's research has shown that there are many misconceptions about how to improve energy efficiency within a data centre, the main one being that there is a trade off between cost and efficiency.

"While money may be needed to make the changes initially, this will be more than recovered by the savings made by using less energy, this net improvement in the bottom line justifies the required changes especially with today's rising energy costs," he said.

Earlier this year, the group announced funding from the Carbon Trust and Romonet to produce simulation software for data centre operators based on the findings of the white paper.

The paper can be found here.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.