Green data centers.

  • T-Systems participates in the European Code of Conduct on Data Centers.
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Energy efficiency is the most important instrument to effectively improve the carbon footprint of data centers. Telekom takes an integrated approach to improving the energy efficiency of its data centers within the scope of its "Low carbon society" CR action area. This approach includes all aspects ranging from cooling and energy provision to optimized utilization of hardware capacities.

Video: DataCenter 2020
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DataCenter 2020.

T-Systems has been operating the DataCenter 2020 test data center at Euro-Industriepark in Munich since September 2009 as part of its collaboration with Intel. At DataCenter 2020, we are testing solutions that enable more energy and cost-efficient data center operation to benefit the environment and the climate.

Optimizing cooling systems.
Phase one of the collaboration project includes testing two different architectural measures for cooling data centers efficiently, i.e. cold aisle and hot aisle containment. One approach involves separating cold areas from the rest of the room while the other involves separating the warm areas to prevent air flows from mixing. Telekom has been using cold aisle containment to cool its all-IP platform since 2011.

In 2012, we conducted tests on entire data centers to make the cooling process even more efficient. During the tests, we compared both approaches and looked for optimization potential. The results showed that both methods were similar in terms of energy efficiency. However, they also showed that there are different advantages and disadvantages in using the two methods. That is why the decision to use either cold or hot aisle containment depends on the relevant requirements and actual operating conditions at each data center. The advantage of using cold aisle containment is that it can be employed without making major changes to the server room. The disadvantage, however, is that employees have to walk into a room with a temperature of around 45°C. This is not the case with hot aisle containment, which eliminates "hot spots" without heating up the rest of the room. We factor in these findings when introducing the cooling methods at other data centers.

Increasing the energy efficiency of hardware.
In early 2012, a second project phase was launched in addition to cooling technologyoptimization . During this phase, the partners studied ways to increase the energy efficiency of IT hardware. They used extrapolations to find out how much computing capacity could be achieved per area unit with new processor technology and made forecasts with respect to the energy demands of future processor generations. T-Systems will use these forecasts and estimates for data center upgrading projects and new data centers in the future.

During the second phase, the project partners also researched how to save energy by changing the settings of the servers' basic operating system (BIOS). Significant savings potential was realized especially as a result of these optimization efforts during project operation at DataCenter 2020. Since then, the findings have been discussed with server manufacturers and applied to the production process.

Implementing project results in real-life operations.
T-Systems is applying its experiences from the DataCenter 2020 project in its Roll-Out DC2020 project to optimize operation and maintenance of existing data centers. T-Systems' largest data center at Euro Industriepark (EIP) in Munich is playing a pioneering role in these efforts. The start phase, for which T-Systems assigned around EUR 1.5 million, began in September 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in March 2013.

T-Systems is also using the results from DataCenter 2020 to plan and construct new data centers in locations such as Magdeburg/Biere in Saxony-Anhalt.

Project topics for 2013.
The project participants defined additional focal areas for 2013. These include testing new ways to provide energy and cooling to the data centers. One important topic in this context will be providing cooling for liquid-cooled servers and processors.

With the DataCenter 2020 project, T-Systems is getting ready for rapidly increasing performance demands on ICT systems, particularly in the area of process security. For example, protecting the basic infrastructure required for ICT services, particularly networks, servers and storage against failure holds high potential for the future. T-Systems intends to rely on ongoing standardization of system environments in this respect.

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The technology partners Intel and T-Systems are working together on the DataCenter 2020 project in accordance with the open source principle. The results of their joint efforts will be published and can then be used by all interested parties. Every year, some 200 events are held with around ten participants each both from Germany and abroad. The events serve to present and discuss ways to optimize energy consumption at data centers. The partners work on developing pioneering business models and new, cost-efficient ICT solutions for users and customers.

One of the milestones the project partners aim to achieve is a PUE (power usage effectiveness) value of 1.3. The PUE value is the most important indicator of data center energy efficiency. It expresses the ratio between the entire amount of energy consumed in data center operation, from cooling and computer operation to lighting, and the energy used by the servers. The average PUE value at T-Systems International and PASM data centers is 1.75. That means that 1.75 kW of power need to be supplied to the data center for every kilowatt of power the servers need. Telekom's goal is to decrease this value for new data centers to 1.3 and for existing data centers to 1.6 by the end of 2013. We have already achieved a PUE value of 1.23 at DataCenter 2020.

Data Center Optimization project.

We launched the Data Center Optimization project in collaboration with PASM in 2011 to optimize the infrastructure of our data centers in Germany. It specified around 16 measures for each data center to reduce energy costs and was tested at 15 pilot locations. The project was closed in late 2012 but the individual measures that were begun under the project are being continued.

We evaluated technical feasibility at three project sites to finalize the Data Center Optimization project. Our assessment showed that the indicator of energy efficiency, the PUE value, improved on average for all data centers.

Following the project, we are planning the progressive closure of data centers whose energy efficiency cannot be improved and the transfer of their IT load to data centers with optimized energy requirements, starting from 2013.

Participating in the European Code of Conduct on Data Centers.

T-Systems is participating in an EU Commission initiative with the aim of cost-efficiently reducing data center energy consumption and encouraging operators to share best practices. The focus of the initiative is the European Code of Conduct on Data Centers. The Commission published the code in late 2008 in response to the increasing need for energy on the part of data centers. Companies can become supporters of the code or, if they operate their own data centers, participating members of the code. In order to participate, a company needs to report extensively on the servers it operates and be in compliance with certain, sustainable policies. Nine T-Systems data centers successfully became members in late March 2013. The applications of two additional data centers are currently being processed.