Amsterdam is blocking new datacenters.

ByJos Keulers

Amsterdam is blocking new datacenters.

Too much energy consumption and space allocation! What can we do?

Datacenter capacity in and around Amsterdam has grown with 20% in 2018 according Dutch Data Center Association (DDA). Bypassing rival data center locations such as London, Paris and Frankfurt. But that growth comes with a problem. They claim too much space and consume too much energy. Therefor the Amsterdam Counsel have decided to invoke a temporary building stop for new data centers until new policy is in place to regulate growth.

At current, local governments do not have control on new initiatives and energy suppliers have a legal obligation to provide power. The problem here is that the growth of datacenter capacities is contra productive to the climate ambitions of governments which are adopted in legislation. Therefor regulation enforcing sustainable growth with green energy and delivery of residual heat back to consumer households will be mandated and in line with climate ambitions.

For now, the building stop is for 1 year. The question is what can we do in between, or are we going to sit and wait and do nothing?

If you cannot grow in performance and capacity outside the current floor space, the most sensible thing to do is to reclaim space within the existing datacenters. There are a few practical changes possible that have minor impact on operations but a huge impact on density and efficient usage of currently available floor space.

  1. Usage of lower power, larger capacity NVMeSSD’s instead of spinning disk’s and high performance energy slurping 1st generation NVMe SSD. Already available are 32TB standard NVMe SSD at less than 12w power. Equipping a 24 slot 2 u server delivers 768TB of storage capacity in just 2U Rackspace at less than ½ watt/TB. NGD Systems is the front runner of delivering these largest capacities NVMe SSD’s at the lowest power consumption rates. No changes required, just install and benefit from low power and large capacities.
  2.  Reduce the number of servers, Cpu, RAM and reduce movement of data by processing secondary compute tasks, like inference, encryption, authentication, compression on the NVMe SSD itself. This is called Computational Storage by NGD Systems. Simply explained. Install an ARM quad core CPU on every NVME SSD and standard Linux applications can run directly off the drive. A 24 slot 2U server can host 96 additional Linux cores that augment the existing server, creating an enormously efficient compute platform at very low power, replacing many unbalanced X86 servers. Change required. Look at the application landscape and determine what applications are using too much resources and migrate them off, one by one.
  3.  Disaggregate storage from cpu. There is huge inefficiency in server farms. Lots of Idle time of CPU’s and unbalanced storage to cpu ratio’s. Eliminating this unbalance is relatively simple and increases storage/cpu utilization and efficiency. Application servers mount their exact required storage volumes from a networked storage server over the already existing network infrastructure at the same low  latencies as if the NVMe SSD was inside the server chassis. The people at Lightbits Labs have made it their mission to tackle the problem of storage inefficiencies in the datacenter. Run POC’s to determine where the improvements are.
  4.  The most simple method to reclaim space is to throw away what you are not usinganymore or move it outside to where the rent is cheaper and space widely available. If you know what data you have and what the value of that data is actions to save, move or delete that data can be put into policies and automated. Komprise has the perfect toolset to analyze, qualify and move data to where it sits best, including to the waste bin. Run a simple pilot and check the cost savings.

 What happens in Amsterdam area today is something we will start to see happening more and more and will kick off many more initiatives in other areas to regulate data center growth and bring that in line with our climate ambitions. If we start banning polluting diesel cars from our inner cities and tax them why could we not have the same discussion on the usage of power slurping old metal boxes with SATA spinning rust within data centers? I am pretty sure that regulators will encourage good behavior with permits and discourage bad behavior with taxes in the not too distant future. 

Maybe it is time to start thinking about Watts/TB in stead of $/Gb

About the author

Jos Keulers administrator