Data Center 2.0 – The Sustainable Data Center, Now Available!

Data Center 2.0 – The Sustainable Data Center is now available. Data Center 2.0

The book is showing up on the websites of Amazon and will soon starts to pop up on websites of other  E-tailers’ .

Data Center 2.0 – The Sustainable Data Center is an in-depth look into the steps needed to transform modern-day data centers into sustainable entities.

See the press release:

Some nice endorsements were received:

“Data Center 2.0, is not so much about technology but about people, society and economic development. By helping readers understand that even if Data Centers, enabling the Digital economy, are contributing a lot to energy saving, they need to be sustainable themselves; Rien Dijkstra is on the right track. When explaining how to build sustainable Data Centers, through multi disciplinary approach, breaking the usual silos of the different expertise, Rien Dijkstra is proposing the change of behavior needed to build sustainable Data Centers. Definitely it is about people, not technology.” 

Paul-Francois Cattier, Global Senior Vice-President Data Center – Schneider Electric

“In Data Center 2.0 The Sustainable Data Center author Rien Dijkstra has gone several steps further in viewing the data center from the perspective of long term ownership and efficiency in combination with treating it as a system. It’s an excellent read with many sections that could be extracted and utilized in their own right. I highly recommend this read for IT leaders who are struggling with the questions of whether to add capacity (co-locate, buy, build, or lease) or how to create a stronger organizational ownership model for existing data center capacity. The questions get more complex every year and the risks more serious for the business. The fact that you’re making a business critical decision that must stand the test of technology and business change over 15 years is something you shouldn’t take lightly.” 

Mark Thiele, President and Founder Data Center Pulse

“Data centers used to be buildings to house computer servers along with network and storage systems, a physical manifestation of the Digital Economy. Internet of Things, the digitization of about everything in and around us, brings many profound changes. A data center is the place where it all comes together. Physical and digital life, fueled by energy and IT, economical and social demands and needs and not to forget sustainability considerations. Sustainable data centers have a great potential to help society to optimize the use of resources and to eliminate or reduce wastes of capital, human labor and energy. A data center in that sense is much more than just a building for servers. It has become a new business model. Data center 2.0 is a remarkable book that describes the steps and phases to facilitate and achieve this paradigm.” 

John Post, Managing Director – Foundation Green IT Amsterdam region

Preview Data Center 2.0 – The Sustainable Data Center

Data Center 2.0: The Sustainable Data Center is an in-depth look into the steps needed toData Center 2.0 transform modern-day data centers into sustainable entities.

To get an impression of the book you can read the prologue right here.

Prologue

In large parts of the world, computers, Internet services, mobile communication, and cloud computing have become a part of our daily lives, professional and private. Information and communication technology has invaded our life and is recognized as a crucial enabler of economic and social activities across all sectors of our society. The opportunity of anytime, anywhere being connected to communicate and interact and to exchange data is changing the world.

During the last two decades, a digital information infrastructure has been created whose functioning is critical to our society, governmental, and business processes and services, which depend on computers. Data centers, buildings to house computer servers along with network and storage systems, are a crucial part of this critical digital infrastructure. They are the physical manifestation of the digital economy and the virtual and digital information infrastructure, were data is processed, stored, and transmitted.

A data center is a very peculiar and special place. It is the place were different worlds meet each other. It is a place where organizational (and individual) information needs and demands are translated in bits and bytes that are subsequently translated in electrons that are moved around the world. It is the place where the business, IT, and energy worlds come together. Jointly they form a jigsaw puzzle of stakeholders with different and sometimes conflicting interests and objectives that are hard to manage and to control.

Electricity is the foundation of all digital information processing and digital services that are mostly provided from data centers. The quality and availability of the data center stands or falls with the quality and availability of the power supply to the data center.

For data centers, the observation is made that the annualized costs of power-related infrastructure has, in some cases, grown to equal the annualized capital costs of the IT equipment itself. Data centers have reached the point that the electricity costs of a server over its lifetime will equal or pass the price of the hardware. Also, it is estimated that data centers are responsible for about 2% of the total world electricity consumption.

It is therefore easy to understand why the topic of electricity usage of data centers is a subject of discussion.

Electricity is still mostly generated with fossil fuel-based primary energy resources such as coal, gas, and oil. But this carbon-constrained power sector is under pressure. Resilience to a changing climate makes the decarburization of these energy sources mandatory to ensure sustainability.

From different parts of society the sustainability of data centers is questioned. Energy efficiency and indirect CO2 emissions caused by the consumption of carbon-based electricity are criticized.

The data center industry is working hard on these issues. According to the common view, it comes down to implementing technical measures. The idea is that more efficient power usage of servers, storage and network components, improved utilization, and better power and cooling management in data centers will solve the problems.

This idea can be questioned. Data centers are part of complex supply chains and have many stakeholders with differing perspectives, incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements and complex interdependencies. In this situation there is no simple, clear definition of data center efficiency, and there is no simple right or optimal solution.

According to the Brundtland Commision of the United Nations, sustainability is “to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Given the fact that we are living in a world with limited resources and the demand for digital infrastructure is growing exponentially, there will be limits that will be encountered. The limiting factor to future economic development is the availability and the functioning of natural capital. Therefore, we need a new and better industrial model.

Creating sustainable data centers is not a technical problem but an economic problem to be solved.

A sustainable data center should be environmentally viable, economically equitable, and socially bearable.

This book takes a conceptual approach to the subject of data centers and sustainability. The proposition of the book is that we must fundamentally rethink the “data center equation” of “people, planet, profit” in order to become sustainable.

The scope of this search goes beyond the walls of the data center itself. Given the great potential of information technology to transform today’s society into one characterized by sustainability what is the position of data centers?

The data center is the place where it all comes together: energy, IT, and societal demands and needs.

Sustainable data centers have a great potential to help society to optimize the use of resources and to eliminate or reduce wastes of capital, human labor and energy.

The idea is that a sustainable data center is based on economics, organization, people and technology. This book offers at least multiple views and aspects on sustainable data centers to allow readers to gain a better understanding and provoke thoughts on how to create sustainable data centers.

Creating a sustainable data center calls for a multidisciplinary approach and for different views and perspectives in order to obtain a good understanding of what is at stake.

The solution is, at the end of the day, a question of commitment.

Data Center 2.0 – The Sustainable Data Center (Update)

Data Center 2.0: The Sustainable Data Center is an in-depth look into the steps needed to transform modern-day data centers into sustainable entities. The book will be published at the beginning of the summer.

To get an impression see the following slide deck.

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Data Center 2.0 – The Sustainable Data Center

DC20_SustainableDataCenter
Currently busy with the final steps to get the forthcoming book ‘Data Center 2.0 – The Sustainable Data Center’ (ISBN 978-1499224689) published at the beginning of the summer.

Some quotes from the book:

“A data center is a very peculiar and special place. It is the place where different worlds meet each other. A place where organizational (and individual) information needs and demands are translated in bits and bytes that are subsequently translated in electrons that are moved around the world. It is the place where the business, IT and energy world come together. Jointly they form a jigsaw puzzle of stakeholders with different and sometimes conflicting interests and objectives that are hard to manage and to control.Data Center 2.0

Given the great potential of Information Technology to transform today’s society into one characterised by sustainability what is the position of data centers?

……..

The data center is the place were it all comes together: energy, IT and societal demands and needs.

…….

A sustainable data center should be environmentally viable, economically equitable, and socially bearable. To become sustainable, the data center industry must free itself from the shackles of 19th century based ideas and concepts of production. They are too simple for our 21th century world.

The combination of service-dominant logic and cradle-to-cradle makes it possible to create a sustainability data center industry.

Creating sustainable data centers is not a technical problem but an economic problem to be solved.”

The book takes a conceptual approach on the subject of data centers and sustainability. It offers at least multiple views and aspects on sustainable data centers to allow readers to gain a better understanding and provoke thoughts on how to create sustainable data centers.

The book has already received endorsements of Paul-Francois Cattier Global Senior, Vice President Data Center of Schneider Electric and John Post, Managing Director of Foundation  Green IT Amsterdam region.

Table of contents

1 Prologue
2 Signs Of The Time
3 Data Centers, 21th Century Factories
4 Data Centers A Critical Infrastructure
5 Data Centers And The IT Supply Chain
6 The Core Processes Of A Data Center
7 Externalities
8 A Look At Data Center Management
9 Data Center Analysis
10 Data Center Monitoring and Control
11 The Willingness To Change
12 On The Move: Data Center 1.5
13 IT Is Transforming Now!
14 Dominant Logic Under Pressure
15 Away From The Dominant Logic
16 A New Industrial Model
17 Data Center 2.0

The fundamental problem of IT and Data center e-waste

The global e-waste problem is escalating, by 2017, world volumes of end-of-life e-products is expected to be 33% higher than 2012 according to a new study by the EERecyclingSolving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative.

Based on current trends E-waste will grow from 48.9 million metric tons in 2013 to 65.4 million tons in 2017.

StEP Initiative has created an interactive map. This map has details on each country’s e-waste numbers and regional or federal rules about how to dispose of the waste.

It shows that in 2012 China and the United States topped the world’s totals in market volume of EEE and e-waste. China put the highest volume of EEE on the market in 2012 – 11.1 million tons, followed by the US at 10 million tons.

However, an e-waste per capita gives a different view on e-waste production. Here the US shows an average 29.8 kg a person. Where as China’s shows a per capita figure of 5.4 kg.

A lot of the electronic devices are IT and Telecommunications Equipment and are used by corporate consumers. So some way or another these corporate consumers are taking part in this explosive growth of e-waste.

We all know that e-waste is serious business and if not proper handled it can cause severe environmental damage and harm to human health. (see When your IT equipment dies, where does it go? )

And there is also another not so well known side of the e-waste coin. E-waste is also about wasting rare earth metals. Metals which are essential for IT equipment and are very costly to produce. (see  Rare earths, E-waste and Green IT)

So there are some moral, economical and financial incentives to stop this explosive growth of e-waste.

As stated in the Green Grid (TGG) white paper the global community is in need of a user-based metric to quantify how well a corporate consumer of IT equipment responsibly manages it once it has been used and is no longer useful to the corporate consumer.

The idea is that an organization must manage all of its material streams. When an object is obsolete  (“end of current use” (EOCU) or “end of life” (EOL)) there are three possible materials streams: reuse, recycling and waste (were waste represents material that is sent to final disposal (e.g., landfilling or incineration as treatment).

Therefore they introduced the Electronics Disposal Efficiency (EDE) Metric

EDE = Total weight of decommissioned IT equipment by known responsible entities /

            Total weight of decommissioned IT equipment

Where the reuse, recycle and waste material streams can be administrated separately.

Using this metric is a good start for creating awareness of the e-waste issue in a corporate environment but there is a fundamental problem.

E-waste is a symptom of an industrial production system inherited from the steam-driven days of the first industrial evolution 18th century. A linear, ‘Take-Make-Waste’ process where “materials are extracted from the earth’s crust, transported to manufacturing sites, used to produce products (all materials not part of end product are discarded as waste), than products are transported to users and finally, at the end-of-life, discarded as waste”.

The implicit assumption of this production system is that we have infinite resources. Now in the 21st century we should be know better, fossil fuels are limited, rare earth elements in electronic components are scarce, water is scarce. So by definition this classical way of producing is unsustainable.

In a cradle to cradle production system, all materials used in industrial or commercial processes fall into one of two categories: technical or biological nutrients. Technical nutrients are strictly limited to non-toxic, non-harmful synthetic materials that have no negative effects on the natural environment; they can be used in continuous cycles as the same product without losing their integrity or quality. In this way these materials can be used over and over.

CradleToCradle

A fundamental transition is needed. Instead of buying, consuming and wasting products one should try to buy services where products are used and recycled. In this circular economy model manufacturers retain the ownership of their products and, act as service providers—selling the use of products, not their one-way consumption as in the current industrial model of linear economy. This should be the fundamental solution to e-waste.

An utopian dream? Multinationals like Philips and InterfaceFLOR are already working with this concept by selling light-as-a-service or carpet-as-a-service and creating closed production loops.

(see Data Centers and Mount Sustainability and The as-a-Service Datacenter, a new industrial model)

Data Centers and Mount Sustainability

Mount-SustainableThis year Ray Anderson, often called the “greenest CEO in America” has passed away. Mr. Anderson was the founder of Interface, one of the world’s largest producer of commercial carpet tiles. After 20 years, running his business in compliance with government regulations, he read in 1994 Paul Hawken’s book “The Ecology of Commerce,” which gave him a new understanding of how business practices could damage the environment. From that point forward, he pursued what he called “Mission Zero”: to make Interface fully sustainable by 2020 through the use of recycled materials and renewable energy sources.

He walked the talk and fifteen years later after his call for change there were some impressive results:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions cut by 82%
  • Fossil fuel consumption by 60%
  • Cut waste by 86%
  • Cut water use by 75%

And at the same time increased sales by 66% and doubled earnings.

In the data center world we have  discussions about energy consumption, E-waste, green IT and we are working on the PUE, WUE and CUE metrics of the Green Grid. But do we have the same kind of impressive results?

In his book “Confessions of a radical industrialist”, Anderson explains how he created a model of profitable sustainability. According to Anderson our industrial system today, inherited from the steam-driven days of the first industrial evolution 18th century, is primarily linear, with “Take-Make-Waste” processes. What does this mean? In short: “materials are extracted from the earth’s crust, transported to manufacturing sites, used to produce products (all materials not part of end product are discarded as waste), then products are transported to users and finally, at the end-of-life, discarded as waste”.

The implicit assumption of this production system is that we have infinite resources. Now we now better, fossil fuels are limited, rare earth elements in electronic components are scarce, water is scarce. So by definition this way of producing is unsustainable. Anderson states in his book that every company has to face three ecological challenges:

  • What we take from earth
  • What we make and what collateral damage we do in the making of it
  • What we waste along the way, from source to the landfill

Within Ray’s company this lead in 1994 to the mission and aim for zero waste and zero environmental impact: Mission Zero or in Ray’s terms climbing Mount Sustainability. To reach this summit of Mount Sustainability the Interface enterprise defined seven paths:

  1. Moving toward zero waste
  2. Increasingly diminish emissions along the supply chain
  3. Increasing efficiency and using more and more renewable energy
  4. Closing-loop recycling
  5. Resource efficient transportation
  6. Creating commitment (sensitivity hook up all along the supply chain
  7. Redesign commerce

Nevertheless this clear and distinctive steps, this isn’t an easy ride. Anderson regular quotes Albert Einstein “Problems cannot be solved by the same thinking used to create them”, innovative thinking is key to get results.

In the data center industry we have the same kind of issues as Anderson is describing for the carpet industry. The only difference is that Ray Anderson started already in 1994 with addressing these problems and showed some impressive results.

So why not prepare your self for the new year and read Anderson’s book to get inspiration for your Sustainable Data Center and balancing the complexities of the triple bottom line: people, planet and profits?

E-waste bill in the rebound with additional rare earth statement

This week, new legislation was announced that targets e-waste dumping in developing countries.  Rep. Gene Green and Rep. Mike Thompson introduced H.R. 2284, The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2011, to prohibit the exportation of some electronics whose improper disposal may create environmental, health, or national security risks.

The bill will create a new category of “restricted electronic waste” — waste that is not allowed to be exported but must be properly recycled within the US. Equipment that is still fully functional can be exported and resold in other markets, but anything that is no longer functional would not be allowed to be exported under this new legislation. Products that are being sent back to the manufacturer for repairs or are being recalled would also be allowed to be exported, since they aren’t being sent to e-waste dumps. The new bill has added provisions for research into recycling and recovery of rare earth metals, which are valuable for the production of IT technologies and clean energy technologies.

Until now large amounts of U.S. e-waste end up at unsafe overseas recycling facilities often in violation with the international law. In the US, it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the e-waste collected for recycling is being exported in this way.

The bill is supported by electronic manufacturers  such as Dell, HP, Samsung, and Apple. “As an industry leader in product life-cycle improvements, HP does not allow the export of e-waste from developed countries to developing countries. We support the work of Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) to pass the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act, and we encourage other companies to join the effort and promote responsible recycling,” said Ashley Watson, Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for HP.

The e-waste makes it third appearance in the U.S House. A similar bill was introduced last year , and the year before (2009) but in both cases too late to make any progress. This time, it hopefully has been introduced early enough to make it’s way into law.