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MW        Mike West

MW: Data centres provide the infrastructure that sits behind the internet, which we all use every day. We design and build facilities for a wide range of customers, from your local council who are processing your council tax and running council services, through to massive data centre operations, with facilities the size of football pitches. I’d describe Keysource Sentry [?] as a new approach to efficient data centre design. We’ve constructed the most efficient data centre in Europe, but we haven’t compromised the resilience of the data centre, and in fact, we’ve improved the performance of the data centre at the same time, and saving the client around 45% of their energy consumption, compared to their old facility.

We took a really different approach to the design of the data centre, and in fact, that was driven by one of the clients’ core values; PGS really value innovation, so they were really encouraging us to be innovative about the way that we designed the data centre. And in addition to that, they were really focused on reducing energy, and it was the first time that we’d been asked to provide a benchmark or a measure of how efficient the data centre was going to be. We’re members of The Green Grid, and they have a data centre efficiency measurement that we included as a design target. And I suppose what’s really different is that we’ve taken this opportunity to really think the way in which we designed the data centre. And I guess that’s really where the innovation has come from, is the clients giving us a free hand and participated in us coming up with this new approach.

The energy savings are significant; we reduced the annual power consumption of the facility at full capacity by around 15 million kilowatt hours, and from an operating expense point of view, over ten years that’s going to be more than £10 million worth of savings. And moving on to the carbon reduction element, they’re going to be saving something over six million kilograms of CO2 per year.

Eco free is really our strategy to efficient data centre cooling, and that’s really important, because it’s the savings that people can achieve from IT where the big gain is, and our approach to cooling is really compounding those energy reduction opportunities, and at the same time, providing a really flexible platform to enable people to deploy IT, and especially high density IT, as and where they want to. And it really makes people think differently about their approach to deploying IT. This development is really significant beyond the IT layer. In the wider context, data centre power consumption is estimated to be between three and five percent, in fact, some commentators suggest as much as 8% of our national power consumption. So, given that most facilities are run relatively inefficiently, there’s a massive potential to reduce our national power consumption.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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