ParaDIME on the Workshop on the Future Energy in ICT Research Agenda
The Workshop on the Future Energy in ICT Research Agenda brought together in Bristol on the 15th of September academic and industrial leaders to focus on the challenge of energy consumption in ICT. The main workshop event featured presentations on current challenges and research in low energy of ICT from fundamental physics to HPC, and provided networking opportunities to discuss where attention should be focused.
ParaDIME partner Dr. Jens Struckmeier from Cloud&Heat presented the work of setting up a decentralized green data center for cloud computing. Introducing the concept and challenges of reusing the computational heat for heat purposes in houses and apartment complexes. Dr. Struckmeier also pointed out why decentralized datacenter allow for shorter response times and enable "real time" cloud applications required for future technologies (industry 4.0, autonomous driving, virtual reality, and the tactile internet).
After the talk there was a vital question and answer session showing the interest in the technology. The data of the other speakers (i.e. Prof. Paul Douglas, University of Glasgow and Boris Grot, University of Edinburgh) allow the conclusion that despite all the very successful efforts in reducing energy consumption of ICT the overall energy consumption of ICT will continue to grow because of the extreme increase of volume of data and data processing outgrowing the efficiency efforts. Therefore the concept of reusing the energy is complementary to all energy saving efforts and not contradictory.
Cloud&Heat provides a distributed Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud based on servers that are located in eco-friendly residential or commercial buildings, powered by OpenStack. The set-up is straightforward: servers, in self-contained fireproof cabinets, are installed in the basements of private and commercial buildings. The cloud-heaters are connected via broadband internet fibre cable connections. To allay concerns about housing the servers in this new way, data is decentralized, triple-replicated and encrypted. The company offers single-rack installments with normal broadband connections and larger installations with connections to multiple backbones for redundancy. Between one and six cabinets (“data safe”) form an individual OpenStack deployment and they all share the same authentication through one OpenStack identity (code-named Keystone) service.
The business model rests on a foundation of energy efficiency, competitive pricing and data protection that meets strict German and European standards. The model is two-pronged: one set of customers have a cost-effective cloud and the other save on cost-efficient heating. Cutting costs on the cooling of servers while providing heat for homes is proving energy efficiency that could never be achieved with classical centralized data center. Our solution enables a PUE of 1.06 plus the energy is reused for heating houses which further reduces the CO2 footprint. We developed a concept to match server workload with heating demand inventing the concept of briques as computational and heating units.
Cloud&Heat (former AoTerra) has been awarded for its innovations i.e. 2013 with the Saxon Environmental Award, was finalist in the German Industry Innovation Award and won the German data center price (Deutscher Rechenzentrumspreis) for energy efficient data center in 2015.
In this talk Cloud&Heat gave a brief overview over their solution of a hybrid water and air cooled microdatacenter for cloud applications. And also will introduced the attendees to challenges and solutions of matching cloud demand to the heating and warm water demand of the buildings.