360 degree overview of the data center industry at the last networking meetup in 2019

Another busy and exciting year for the data center industry was rounded off with the last networking meetup 19th November in Odense.

The programme offered a 360 degree overview of the industry after the welcome by CEO, Susanne Stengade, from 6X International, who hosted the networking meetup at Radisson Blu H. C. Andersen Hotel.

In the opening remarks, director, Henrik Hansen, from Danish Data Center Industry (DDI) looked back on a busy year, where the still young association has been taking some important steps in terms of development.

“This includes our annual conference Data Centers Denmark, which took place in the UN City in Copenhagen. It was a great success with 300 delegates from 13 different countries. We made a great debut, so next year we will be even more ambitious with the event, which is going to take place 13th May 2020– again in the UN City in Copenhagen”, said Henrik Hansen.

“At the moment we are working on our first major market analysis of market perspectives, expectations and much more. It will be the first purely Danish analysis of the data center industry, and it will be published by the end of January 2020.”

 

The first presentation of the day was held by Rudy Musschebroeck, Director of Strategy and Business Development in the Belgian company CommScope. His presentation focused on how the data centers can prepare for the 5G era of mobile data.

“Mobile data has gone from nice to need – in the beginning no one felt a great need to be able to stream from a beach. But right now we see a tremendous increase in the need for bandwith. Today, everything is connected and we still have many devices to connect”, emphasized Rudy Muscchebroeck.

“And we do not want latency – we want the movie to start immediately and we want everything to be working right away. As a result of this, 5G is very different from earlier generations, which was just a little better and a little more of the same things. 5G simply marks a shift in the architecture.”

The CommScope-director pointed at “densification” – more antennas will provide better coverage, at “centralization” – an attempt to pull the radio transmitter into a central location, and at “virtualization” – more options to centralize or distribute network elements.

In terms of edge technology and the consideration for the lowest possible latency, the need for computing closer to the need therefore gives more locations to manage.

“Then the question is: Who is going to own that infrastructure and who is going to pay the bill? Who is going to pay for it, and how can we make sure that those who build that infrastructure get some revenue out of it?”, asked Rudy Musschebroeck.

Adding on to this, one of the participants asked him how he – from his own viewpoint – perceive the owner models in the future?

“We see that a sizable share of investment has shifted from hyperscale centers to co-location in recent years – it is going to happen, but probably not at the scale needed in the coming years. That is why we also see some newcomers as neutral hosts. What is crucial for the industry is that there is a business model and a transcation model that ensures payment,” came the answer.

Another question focused on next-generation technology with 6G – aren’t the Chinese already doing it?

“Every ten years it is a new G – and of course you can already see this in the labs. But it is in the future”, it sounded with a twinkled eye from Rudy Musschebroeck.

 

He was followed by Tom Blake, Associate Director at the engineering and consulting group Arup with a presentation on the construction of sustainable data centers.

“If cloud were a country, it would be the fifth largest in terms of energy consumption. And that is going to continue – investments and energy consumption will continue to grow. We have a great future ahead of us, but it needs to be more sustainable,” he stated.

Tom Blake has 30 years of experience with data centers and from his base in Ireland he has noted new times when it comes to power supply.

“For example, our Amsterdam office tells me that all projects have been paused due to the lack of electricity. And this is also true for cities like Dublin and Frankfurt. The power is ‘sold out’. Data centers do not have the power for themselves anymore, when it comes to extra capacity in the network, because there is a new competition for it”, said Tom Blake.

“Therefore, we also see that power contracts are no longer available on ‘fixed demand’ terms. Now there are flexible contracts on the power supply with a ‘use it or lose it’ approach – if you do not use the allocated capacity, then we remove you from the grid. It is a complete turnaround for network owners, who must invest large sums of money, and we can no longer get it in our own way in the industry.”

On this basis, the Arup-CEO emphasized that it is more important than ever to project properly when planning new data centers.

“We have to do it right and stop over-projecting. It is about ‘right sizing’, and as designers we really have to challenge our clients on what they are asking for. One of our problems in regards to this in Dublin, however, is that all the decisions for the big data centers are made in the US”, it sounded without a wink from Tom Blake.

At the same time, he points out that it is more important than ever to focus on Co2-neutral energy in order to meet the public demand for sustainable data centers.

“It is not the energy that is the problem – it is how it is produced. There have been some setbacks and some misinformation in public, and we have to be aware of that.”

Adding on to this, one of the participants asked: But do the data center operators really listen?

“Fortunately, they have big financial muscles and they are listening. But in my experience they have not quite understood that they must also be a part of the solution for the electricity grid.”

Another question was asked in relation to the utilization of surplus heat and consequently the location of data centers.

“Location is a big topic, but if you go to a big city where surplus heat can be used, you can also occupy a large area. The alternative is to put the data centers in places where people need the jobs. For those cloud operators who do not need very low latency, that is an option. But I don’t think it is the right place to locate data centers in the big cities.”

 

The next presentation focused on European standards in the data center industry – a voluntary scheme that can be used as inspiration and guidelines in the work on quality assurance. Senior Data Center Auditor, Volkmar Bend, from TÜViT, which is a part of the large German TÜV-group, reviewed the status and the standards within this area.

“I work as a data center auditor and visit the data centers in order to evaluate them based on a number of key criteria such as risks, energy consumption and environmental impact,” he said.

Once the various standards are met, a data center can claim that it has gone through “Trusted Site Infrastructure Voluntary Validation” and use it as evidence of its quality to the outside world.

“A standard is a guideline that you can lean on, but it is not legislation. It is technical guidelines that are voluntary,” stressed Volkmar Bend.

The industry standards are constantly updated based on best practice in the various areas.

“The European standard is now becoming international and it came as a bit of a surprise, because it rare for the US and Asia to make use of European standards as a starting point. Unfortunately, there are no Danes on the committee reviewing these standards, but you are very welcome if you think Denmark is under-represented – it is not a closed circle,” sounded the invitation from Volkmar Bend.

 

Export potential for Danish companies is an important factor for the benefits of a strong Danish home ground for data centers. Novenco Building & Industry, headquartered in Næstved, has seized the opportunities in the global market, and Senior Product Manager, John Boss, could telle more about that in the last presentation of the day.

“In fact, we have been in the global ventilation market for 70 years. But the question is why some of the world’s largest data center owners chose a small company in Denmark as their supplier,” he asked rhetorically.

“Our products are here and there, but we have only been in the data center industry for a few years. And – if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” sounded the inspirational tones from John Boss.

The start of the adventure took place at Facebook’s large datacenter in Luleå in the northern part of Sweden, where Novenco was in the good graces for the first time.

“Data centers have been focusing on saving energy, which makes it very interesting for us. But we also learned from the first time that it is about much more than that. It started out as a secret project with some US standards, and when we realized the scale and the location of the university, noice became a an important issue, “ said John Boss.

After hundreds of calculations and a prototype to measure the noise, the project started to run smoothly and new doors opened.

“Suddenly everyone was interested and we were barraged with phone calls. The next building was a totally different design, because at the same time another project was in the pipeline in Viborg. But how did you get in touch with ‘the big Apple’?

The entire network was activated and via Invest in Denmark’s employee in Palo Alto a meeting was set up. The rest is history, and Novenco is now an established name in the industry with its advanced axial fans and it is, among others, an approved supplier at Facebook. But how did a relatively small company succeed in an industry that they knew nothing about beforehand?

“It is about hard word, experience, flexibility, technology and not least – networking,” explained John Boss, who cannot rest on his laurels.

“Even if you did the last project for a certain customer, they will not come to you by themselves. It is hard work – all the time.”

 

The networking meetup ended with a small panel session between all four speakers moderated by Thomas Volder, chairman in DDI. He asked, what each of them see as key drivers for the industry development in the coming years?

“I don’t think we are fully aware of the importance of data centers in our daily lives. For example, something happens in a data center every time we hit a key on our smartphone. So we are dependent on the quality of the data centers,” it sounded from Volkmar Bend.

“I think the public image of the industry is a very important key driver. For example, I saw a campaign recently about turning off Facebook accounts – that kind of message is dynamite for the operators. So it is the public image that drives them towards sustainability,” Tom Blake said, while John Boss agreed:

“What I have seen and heard in recent years is that the expectations for data center sustainability are low.  My grandchildren would not be able to live without their phone, which is connected to the cloud. But it is important for them to focus on the green side and if the operators have a high-emission energy consumption, it will not be accepted nowadays,” said John Boss.

 

Digital services should be ‘eco-labelled’ survey reveals

Survey reveals nearly seven in ten Scandinavians want digital services to be ‘eco-labelled’ for sustainable clarity.

Nearly seven out of ten people in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, want to have eco-labelling of digital services according to a new survey commissioned by datacenter operator, DigiPlex.

Every time we stream a TV series, check social media or log in to our internet bank, a process starts in a datacenter that consumes energy and release CO2. Data centers and digital infrastructure are currently estimated to be responsible for three percent of global energy consumption and two percent of global CO2 emissions. Forecasts suggest this could rise to 5.5 percent of CO2 emissions within 5-10 years if unchecked.

The new research, conducted by Kantar/Sifo, shows that 66 percent of people in the Nordic region want to have eco-labelling of digital services. Even more, 69 percent, believe that it is important for digital services to have as little climate impact as possible.

“A large majority of Scandinavians want to be able to make sustainable decisions and reduce their climate impact – and this extends to their internet use.” reports Gisle M. Eckhoff, CEO at DigiPlex.

Not all data centers are the same, with newer, more efficient and more sustainable facilities having much lower carbon footprints. Eco-labelling would help consumers choose services that used more sustainable data centers, and force service providers to consider carefully the environmental impact of the location and operation of their data centers.

“If you stream a film through a power hungry data center that gets its energy from brown coal it will indeed contribute to climate change. Today’s consumers increasingly want to make an active green choice when it comes to using various internet services. Currently they do not have the information to make informed decisions,” says Gisle M. Eckhoff, CEO at DigiPlex.

But, at the same time, only a quarter of Scandinavians, 26 percent, are willing to reduce their use of internet and digital services, even if this would mean lower contributions to climate change.

“Internet usage is a natural part of our everyday life that few can or want to give up. But, with eco-labelling consumers can put pressure on suppliers to ensure digital services are climate smart, energy efficient, use reusable energy and have minimal CO2 emissions. It is also no surprise that 70 percent want suppliers of digital services to report their energy usage and climate impact in, for example, their Annual Report,” says Gisle M. Eckhoff.

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Original article taken from: https://www.digiplex.com/insights/articles/eco-label-digital-services 

Google to invest in 5 Danish solar parks

Against the backdrop of “Fridays for future” climate demonstrations around the world, Google is stepping up in support of the climate agenda with historic investments in renewable energy around the world, including 5 solar parks in Denmark.

Google’s investment in solar and wind energy now totals to around $ 7 billion. dollars so far.

The new deal, which according to Google, is one of the largest renewable energy investments ever made, has a total output of 1600 MW. Denmark is set to produce one-tenth of this power, as Google has invested in 5 solar parks located in Mors, Gimming near Randers, Rødby Fjord near Norddjurs and in Nætved.

“A company like Google uses a lot of energy because we keep the internet running 24/7. Therefore, we feel a huge responsibility in being as sustainable as we possibly can” said Google’s CEO Malou Aamund in a press release.

Google is also investing in renewable energy projects in USA, Sweden, Finland and Belgium.

Google investment shows how “the internet” can lead the way in the green transition

To counter Googles Danish data center energy use, the IT giant is set to establish the five Danish solar parks. This is not a new practice for a hyperscale company in their efforts to “greening the cloud”. The company Better Energy, is set to establish the three parks in Næstved, Norddjurs and Gimming.

The growth of renewable energy capacity is contributing to lower technology and installation costs, and better integration with existing transmission networks.

Furthermore, the cost of renewable electricity generation is being reduced to a level that in many developed and developing countries are competitive with conventional electricity sources. For example, corporate PPA structures are now a common practice in the data center landscape, as hyperscalers lead the way in renewable energy production when they offset their carbon footprint by “giving back” to the climate. A PPA is a long term buying commitment which helps the developer’s ability to finance power plants and promotes investment in renewables and the transition towards green energy.

As data center capacity continues to grow, investments like these show how the data center (and its business) can contribute to the green transition, both in Denmark and globally. From a domestic standpoint, the investment will not only expand our energy network infrastructure, but also boost sector jobs and the economy overall.

The green data center of the future does not only run efficiently, but is also contributing to the sustainability cause within the host community. Integrating the data center into our energy networks, moving away from being an energy consumer, to a “prosumer” is the way forward for the both the industry and our climate.

Thank you to Google for this significant investment, we look forward to the solar park developments, which will undoubtedly bring forward growth for the Danish economy and further our sustainability cause.

DDI

Read Google’s own blog post

Odense data center– economic impact and community benefits

With a joint push of a huge “Like button”, Facebook’s new data center in Odense, Denmark, was put into operation on 12th September 2019.  DDI looks at the impact of the data center on a local and national plan, and what other local communities should factor in when attracting data center builds to their regions.

The opening of the Facebook site in Odense highlights that data centers can be run “the green Danish” way, given that the entire energy consumption of the data center is powered by renewable energy, whilst the surplus heat is set to heat 6,900 households in Odense.

“We are always looking for innovative technology for our infrastructure, and we are impressed about the reuse of the surplus heat project. We therefore want to look at how we can use and implement similar solutions across our global CO2 emissions,” said Facebook Vice President Rachel Peterson at the inauguration ceremony in Odense.

The Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities, Dan Jørgensen, who also participated in the inauguration, was also full of praise for the unique Danish solution with focus on recycling of surplus heat.

Facebook data center – facts and figures

So, what does a data center do to the local and regional community? People working within IT know exactly what a data center is and what it takes to run the actual center. But what do the local communities and their politicians, who are competing for new data center investments, get out of a data center deal?

The internet giant commissioned IHS Markit to evaluate the economic contribution of Facebook’s European data centers in their respective countries from 2011-2018 (IHS Markit 2019) as highlighted in below figure.

Source: The Economic Contributions of Facebook Data Centers in Denmark, Ireland & Sweden, IHS Markit 2019 

 

The study highlights Facebook’s contribution to Denmark’s economy through its capital expenditures (construction and equipment), operational expenses and direct wages. In addition to these figures, Facebook highlights its contributions to renewable energy targets as well as their Community Action Grant Programme.

What is yet to be factored in those numbers, are the operational expenses once the facility is completed, as well as investments in lifecycle management of the equipment and servers, as a typical data center requires a refresh every 5 years or so. The Facebook site in Odense is expected to create approximately 170 permanent jobs.

Jobs vs. capital investment vs. innovation – the data center effect

During the construction phase, data centers support a significant amount of jobs. However, once the facility is built, permanent jobs can typically range from anything from 5 to 150+ people depending on the facility. In comparison, headquarters, manufacturing plants or other type of shared services, could easily bring well over 1,000 jobs to a local community instead. Thus, many critics wonder why incentives are being offered to companies building data centers, given their low employment rates?

A key goal for policy makers, from a city level to a national level, is to grow tax revenues, and one way to do this is through job creation. This is where capital investment should be considered when discussing the benefits of data center investments. Capital investment is also a driver of tax revenue growth, which is often overlooked.

As highlighted by the Odense facility, data centers are highly capital-intensive. Significant investments go into construction, purchasing of equipment, materials, power consumption, direct local expenditures and more. Whilst one can argue that these are temporary,  data center builds can often last from 5-10 years, which is a significant period of time a local community’s economic activities are stimulated.

Long term impacts and spillover effects should also not be ignored. Data center operators tend to upgrade the surrounding infrastructure to meet their requirements, which often includes roads, water, sewer and power infrastructure systems. These infrastructure developments also tend to support a boost in employment in those sectors.

Finally, data centers tend to seek out locally inspired solutions, new innovations and approaches to their energy and operational efficiencies. From using local vendors, to finding solutions such as the heat recovery project, data centers can indeed inspire and be inspired by their local communities.

A nation or region should therefore (if not more) be motivated to attract data center developments, as it would in any other typical economic development project, given the significant benefits to the economy and local infrastructure systems.

A warm welcome to Facebook in Odense – we are delighted that you placed your facility in Denmark and chose to run it the “green Danish way”.

DDI

Data Centers Denmark event focused on sustainability and innovation

The debate at the event went from “villains” to “electricity-racism” to talks about the “secret sauce” to success. But the focus was without a doubt on data center sustainability at every layer of the industry, spearheaded by the 40 international speakers of the day.

Data Centers Denmark took place in the UN City in Copenhagen, gathering a crowd of international data center professionals and over 280 attendees from 13 different countries.

The event was organized by the Danish Data Center Industry, in collaboration with UNEP-DTU Partnership, focusing on the design and build of sustainable data centers. A topic of various layers and nuances with many challenges today and in the near future, as we are faced with rapidly escalating global climate changes.

“The large hyperscale campuses are more energy efficient, than the ones that they are replacing”, said John Christensen, the Director of UNEP DTU Partnership.

“But the big question is whether we can work together with the demand side. My daughter for example, had never thought about how much CO2 emissions a tweet releases until I told her. Younger generations need to be made aware of the impact of data usage, and that each one of us can make a difference, but if you start to preach to the rest of the world, you may run into challenges”.

However, many indicators suggest that we can use data with a “clean” conscious – also in a future where the demand will keep increasing.

“We are committed to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2020 – and this goal is part of a larger project to reduce our CO2 footprint with 75 percent in 2020”, said Vince Van Son, Director of Energy and Infrastructure at Facebook.

In 2018, the goal for Facebook was 50 percent renewable energy, but they ended up reaching 75 percent, so the company is well underway to reach its 100 percent green energy target.

“Power purchase agreements are an important tool for us, and they often are the driving force behind getting new renewable energy projects to succeed without any environmental costs”, added Van Son.

To illustrate the growth, and the challenges with renewable energy, he outlined in his presentation how Facebook currently has more data centers under construction than in operation. But the company’s solar and wind energy usage is increasing rapidly. A great example here is Facebook’s Odense data center in Denmark, which will use green power sources from Norwegian windfarms.

“We have financed the production and the connectivity links, and in doing this, we are supporting the target set by Denmark to use more green energy from offshore wind power.  All of our investments are made voluntarily and are not supported by any public funds”.

”The purchase of renewables by companies helps to lower the costs for all consumers. Our actions are removing barriers and inspiring others,” said the Facebook executive.

The first panel debate of the day was moderated by Stanford University’s Susanna Kass, who asked representatives from Microsoft and Google, about their approach to sustainable consumption.

“Mankind is undergoing a significant change right now, as we navigate the new industrial revolution, and in the center of it all is the data center. Think of the old factories with smoke coming out of the chimneys – we can learn from the past and design sustainability into the process from the very beginning,” said Sean James, Head of Energy Research at Microsoft.

Microsoft decided to build its own data centers in 2007. Operating at a larger scale makes more sense from an energy efficiency perspective, and the IT giant is putting a lot of its efforts into R&D, for example utilizing liquid cooling to cool down its server and using PPA’s to purchase renewable energy.

“I am very proud of the commitment into renewable energy by the data center industry. The industry is not told to do this by directives or legislations, we are doing this by our own initiatives, and we are very dedicated to the cause. Anyone at Microsoft who makes any decisions, is able to immediately see their CO2 footprint in their own accounts – whether we are talking about a building project or a trip to Europe,” adds Sean James.

Google is equally working hard to reach 100 percent renewables in its own data centers.

”We also need to account for other regions, where the climate is warmer and  has limited access to renewables. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that our data centers in those regions use renewable energy 24/7, but it is our long-term goal,” highlighted Alaa Salama, Program Manager for Data Center Sustainability at Google.

“In Finland, we have reached around 99 percent green energy, whereas in places such as Iowa it is a different story. We are also looking into onsite energy production. In Belgium we have around 10,000 solar panels installed at the data center, but this unfortunately only reaches around 3 percent of the total usage. We are committed to further invest in renewable energy and new innovations – every site has its own specific environment and a tailor-made approach on how we can reach our 100 percent green energy targets”.

After the morning plenary sessions, the conference broke into two tracks, making room for various debates and case studies.

In one of the panel debates, Lars Aagaard, CEO of the Danish Energy Association, pointed that data centers can indeed contribute to balancing renewables.

“Can you help us make the consumption more flexible, so that we can invest less in network and backup? If the industry shows flexibility, it would be more significant in relation to energy storage, so that we can alleviate the very expensive demands during peak hours,” said Lars Aagard, who also commented on the political landscape.

”I am not a fan of those politicians who are exhibiting “electricity-racism”, which they do for some of the larger electricity consumers, who apparently have to pay higher fees than consumers who use traditional energy sources. The data center industry is a global one, and we should welcome the industry to our country should they wish to come here. Of course, they must pay for their own use of electricity and potentially assist in further developments in our energy networks”, added Aagard.

“If we want to set targets when it comes to renewables, then we need more production of RE if the demand goes up. But data centers are not the problem here – it is rather our target which is not intelligent enough. We really need to focus on placing data centers where it is most effective to operate them. We should accept a lower RE share in Denmark, if it means that the overall global CO2 emissions went down”.

Another panellist, EVP Mark Augustenborg Ødum from Better Energy, pointed that he sees opportunities rather than threats in the development of the industry.

“Digitalisation, e-mobility and all these connected devices will create far more data in the future, and all of this will consume more energy. However, we are fortunate enough in Denmark to have a unique mix of energy sources, where we essentially just need to build out the energy networks to balance the different sources of energy. We do have a unique proposition to create a power hub in the Nordics, because we have many different forms of energy combined in one region, and this is our opportunity to set the standard”, said Mark Ødum.

CEO of European Energy, Knud Erik Andersen agreed with the sentiment: “We are not asking for any contributions, we would just like to make use of a developed infrastructure, which we can plug into. Data centers have been the frontrunners on PPA’s, and we are now seeing SME’s following this trend. The data center is responsible for this very development,” adds Andersen, whose company made the first PPA 4 years ago.

“PPA’s were previously driven by subsidies and guarantees from the government. Now it is the norm as well as the obvious choice for businesses without the need for political intervention. Our society needs to be reminded of this fact”.

The rest of the day offered many debates on how we can build and operate sustainable data centers. For example, panellist offered best-practices on how we can optimise the construction phase of a data center, where some shared what the “secret sauce” to success was. Knowledge-sharing and the industrialization of the construction phase with various technologies and techniques such as the modular approach, was discussed.

“For data centers it is important that our industry becomes a circular one, where we reuse materials and create more of a standardized approach with far fewer resources. Many of the data centers which we are building now, will need an upgrade in 5 years’ time,” said John Sommer, Director at the Danish construction firm MT Højgaard.

Other talks focused on the demand side and the opportunities following the new international connectivity cable, linking Denmark directly with the US, named the “Mermaid” cable.

“I would like to see the industry utilize the Nordics as their next step in their build-outs with the stable connectivity links we are able to offer, “said Peder Nærbø, the CEO from colocation provider Bulk Infrastructure.

Nærbø is currently building a new colocation site in Esbjerg, which will directly be connected to the subsea transatlantic cable. Bulk is also one of the partners in the cable system.

“In about 2-3 years’ time, we have brand new cables which will land in Esbjerg. We strongly believe that the Nordics will be the future engine room for the data center industry, with multiple connectivity points. We just need to enable this potential,” added Peder Nærbø.

Should one doubt the pace of the growth, Susanna Kass from Stanford University illustrated a thought-provoking scenario for smart cities around the world.

“The data center of the future is not designed for humans. In 2030 we will have reached around 45 megabytes with more than 10 million citizens. On average an individual has now more than seven devices connected to the internet, whilst the figure is much higher in Asia,” said Susanna Kass on the basis of UN’s World Urbanization Prospects.

“The number of machine users on the internet will surpass 50 billion devices in 2020 already, and this is just a few months away. So be humble with these developments, innovate, collaborate, hire more women and engage with students. And remember, you don’t know, what you don’t know…”.

 

Stærke bud på bæredygtige datacentre ved Data Centers Denmark-konference

Både oplægsholderne og debatten nåede vidt omkring med et glimt i øjet – lige fra ‘skurkeroller’ over ‘elektricitets-racisme’ og til ‘hemmelig sovs’. Men fokus var klart hele dagen igennem: Bæredygtighed kan sagtens forenes med datacentre, og der var masser af interessante bud på fremtiden.

Konferencen Data Centers Denmark i UN City, København, havde samlet en perlerække af oplægsholdere fra hele den internationale datacenterindustri og ikke færre end 285 tilmeldte deltagere. De fik en interessant dag med masser af input og networking, og fra deltagerne hørte vi kun rosende ord om arrangement og indhold – tak for det!

Konferencen var arrangeret af Datacenter Industrien i samarbejde med UNEP-DTU Partnership, og det overordnede tema var udvikling og drift af bæredygtige datacentre.
Et stort emne med mange facetter og mange udfordringer i en nutid og fremtid, som bliver stadig mere bevidst om den globale klimaudfordring.

“De store hyperscale centre er meget mere energieffektive, end de centre, de erstatter,” fastslog director John M. Christensen fra UNEP-DTU Partnership i sin velkomst.

“Men spørgsmålet er, om vi også kan arbejde med efterspørgselssiden. Min datter havde f.eks. aldrig tænkt over, om et tweet er CO2-fri, og hun fik helt dårlig samvittighed, da jeg fortalte om det. De unge må opdrages til at vide, at nogle af de her data altså ikke er gratis, og man kan gøre mange ting selv, men hvis man starter med at prædike til resten af verden, risikerer man at tabe.”

Men meget tyder på, at vi sagtens kan bruge data med grøn samvittighed – også i en fremtid, hvor forbruget stiger endnu mere.

“Vi har forpligtet os til at bruge 100 pct. vedvarende energi i 2020 – og det mål er en del af et større projekt med at reducere vores CO2-aftryk med 75 pct. i 2020,” lød det f.eks. fra Vince Van Son, director for Energy and Infrastructure hos Facebook.

For 2018 var målet for Facebook 50 pct. vedvarende energi, men man nåede op på 75 pct., så man er allerede godt på vej mod 100 pct. grøn energi.

“PPA’er (power purchase agreement) er et vigtigt værktøj for os, og ofte er de også afgørende for at få nye VE-projekter til at lykkes uden omkostninger for samfundet,” fortalte Vince Van Son.

For at illustrere væksten – og udfordringen med grøn energi – kunne han oplyse, at Facebook p.t. har flere datacentre under konstruktion end i drift! Men koncernens forbrug af sol- og vindenergi er også kraftigt stigende. Det gælder f.eks. den aftale, der fornylig er lavet om grøn strøm fra norske vindmøller til det nye datacenter i Odense.

“Vi finansierer produktion og tilslutning til nettet – og dermed støtter vi bl.a. Danmarks mål om mere grøn strøm fra havvindmøller. Og alle vore grønne investeringer er helt frivillige og uafhængige af offentlig støtte,” fastslog Facebook-direktøren.

“Virksomhedernes indkøb af vedvarende energi hjælper helt klart til lavere omkostninger for alle forbrugere. Og vores handlinger på området hjælper med at fjerne barrierer og inspirere andre,” påpegede Vince Van Son.

Dagens første paneldebat havde deltagelse af repræsentanter for både Microsoft og Google, og moderator Susanna Kass fra Stanford University spurgte bl.a. om deres tilgang til ansvarligt forbrug.

“Der sker noget markant i menneskeheden lige nu,  hvor vi gennemgår en ny industriel revolution, og i centrum for dét står datacentrene. Tænk på de gamle traditionelle fabrikker med røg ud af skorstenene – vi kan se, hvad der skete fortiden, og tænke bæredygtighed ind fra begyndelsen,” påpegede Sean James, Head of Energy Research hos Microsoft.

IT-giganten besluttede tilbage i 2007 at bygge sine egen datacentre. Større skala giver generelt mere energieffektiv drift, og Microsoft arbejder meget med udvikling – f.eks. vandkøling af serverne – og bruger selv PPA’er til indkøb af grøn strøm.

“Jeg er meget stolt af datacentrenes engagement i vedvarende energi. Ingen pålægger os at gøre det, men vi gør det frivilligt og meget dedikeret. Og alle, der tager en hvilken som helst beslutning hos os i Microsoft, kan straks se CO2-aftrykket i deres eget regnskab – hvad enten det handler om et byggeprojekt eller f.eks. en rejse til Europa,” fortalte Sean James.

Hos Google arbejder man lige så målrettet mod at nå op på 100 pct. vedvarende energi i sine datacentre.

“Vi skal jo også være repræsenteret i andre regioner, hvor der er varmere klima og ikke samme adgang til vedvarende energi. Så vi kan ikke garantere, at vores datacentre i de områder bruger grøn energi 24/7, men det er vores langsigtede mål,” understregede Alaa Salama, Program Manger for Data Center Sustainability hos Google.

“I Finland er vi oppe på omkring 99 pct. grøn energi, mens det f.eks. i Iowa er en anden historie. Vi kigger også på onsite el-produktion, og vi har f.eks. i Belgien 10.000 solpaneler på datacentrets grund, men det rækker desværre kun til tre pct. af forbruget. Vi fortsætter med at investere i vedvarende energi og ny udvikling – hvert site har sine specielle forhold og hver sin tilgang til at nå målet på 100 pct.”

Efter de indledende oplæg og debatter i plenum blev konferencen delt op i to spor for at give plads til de mange interessante temaer, bl.a. om datacentrenes rolle i fremtidens energisystemer.

I en af paneldebatterne pegede adm. direktør Lars Aagaard fra Dansk Energi f.eks. på, at datacentre kan bidrage i forhold til afbalanceringen af vedvarende energi.

“Kan I hjælpe os med at gøre forbruget mere fleksibelt, så vi kan investere mindre i net og backup. Hvis industrien viser, at den kan levere fleksibilitet, vil det være meget værd – også i forhold til lagring af energi, så vi kan fjerne noget af den kostbare efterspørgsel i spidsbelastning,” sagde Lars Aagaard, der også gav en stikpille til den politiske tilgang.

“Jeg kan ikke lide politikere, der lancerer ‘elektricitets-racisme’. Men det gør de for nogle af de store elforbrugere, som åbenbart skal betale en højere præmie, end storforbrugere der bruger traditionelle energikilder. Datacentre er en global industri, som bør komme til vores land, hvis de finder det attraktivt, og så skal de selvfølgelig betale for deres eget forbrug af elektricitet og evt. udbygning af nettet. Og når vi f.eks. har et mål om en vis VE-andel – så skal vi have højere produktion, når forbruget går op. Men problemet er ikke datacentrene
– det er, at målet ikke er særlig intelligent, og vi skulle virkelig gå efter at få drevet datacentrene, hvor det er mest effektivt! Jeg ville hellere acceptere en lavere VE-andel i Danmark, hvis den globale CO2 udledning gik ned,” fastslog Lars Aagaard.

En anden paneldeltager, executive vice president Mark Augustenborg Ødum fra Better Energy, ser også flere muligheder end trusler i udviklingen.

“Digitalisering, e-mobility m.m. vil kræve langt mere data i fremtiden, og det kræver alt sammen mere energi. Men vi har et unikt energimiks i Danmark, hvor vi bare har brug for mere infrastruktur til at balancere de forskellige energiformer. Vi har en unik mulighed for at skabe et power hub i Norden, fordi vi har de forskellige energiformer kombineret i én region, og vi har mulighed for at sætte en standard,” sagde Mark Ødum.

Adm. direktør Knud Erik Andersen fra European Energy – som blandt meget andet også er involveret i energiaftaler med datacentre – var på linje med ham.

“Vi beder ikke om tilskud – vi beder bare om en infrastruktur, vi kan koble os på. Datacentre har været frontløbere for PPA’er, og vi ser nu anden bølge, hvor mellemstore virksomheder følger efter. I hele udviklingen af det her, har datacentre været med til at skabe markedet,” fastslog Knud Erik Andersen, hvis virksomhed lavede den første PPA for fire år siden.

“Det var drevet af subsidier og garanteret af regeringen. Nu er det standard samt på kommercielle vilkår uden politisk involvering, og det bør samfundet også tænke på.”

Dagens program bød på en bred palette af interessante temaer indenfor bæredygtige datacentre – f.eks. også hvordan man designer, bygger og driver dem mere miljøvenligt. Her kom ‘den hemmelige sovs’ ind i debatten som et billede på, at der kan optimeres med mere videndelen og industrialisering i byggeprocessen, f.eks. med modultankegang.

“For datacentre er det vigtigt at lave det til en cirkulær industri, hvor vi f.eks. også genbruger materialer og laver mere standardisering med mindre forbrug af ressourcer. Mange af de datacentre, vi bygger nu, skal jo højst sandsynligt have en opgradering igen om fem-ti år,” påpegede director John Sommer fra MT Højgaard.

Andre oplæg handlede om efterspørgslen og mulighederne, der følger med de nye, internationale dataforbindelser.

“Jeg vil have datacenterindustrien til at bruge Norden som næste skridt i deres udbygning med de stabile forbindelser, vi kan tilbyde,” sagde f.eks. stifter og formand Peder Nærbø, Bulk Infrastructure.

Han har senest taget første spadestik til et nyt co-location datacenter i Esbjerg, som bl.a. bliver forbundet med det kommende atlantiske Havfrue-kabel, som Bulk også er partner i.

“Om to-tre år har vi tre spritnye kabler, der lander på stranden ved Esbjerg. Og vi mener, at Norden bliver fremtidens maskinrum for datacenterbranchen med adskillige forbindelser, så vi skal bare sørge for at åbne potentialet,” lød det fra Peder Nærbø.

Og skulle man være i tvivl om tempoet i væksten, kunne man bare lytte til Susanna Kass fra Stanford University. Hun gav et tankevækkende indblik i en meget nær fremtid for smart cities over hele kloden. “Fremtidens datacentre er ikke designet for nogen af os – de er slet ikke beregnet til mennesker. I 2030 vil vi have 43 megabyer på kloden med mere end 10 mio. indbyggere. Og i gennemsnit har folk allerede nu syv enheder, der er forbundet til nettet, mens tallet er  endnu højere i Asien,” fortalte Susanna Kass på basis af FN’s World Urbanization Prospects.

“Allerede i 2020 vil antallet af ‘machine users’ på nettet have passeret 50 mia. enheder – og det er jo altså om meget få måneder. Så vær ydmyg med udviklingen – you don’t know, what you don’t know…”

Varde Kommune køber jord til datacenter

Danmarks stærke position som ‘hot spot’ for datacentre viser sig nu også i Varde Kommune, som har købt en ti hektar grund til brug for et datacenter øst for Varde by.

– Vi sørger for at købe et stykke jord, så vi kan planlægge det, så alle kan komme videre, siger borgmester Erik Buhl (V) fra Varde Kommune til Jydske Vestkysten om udsigterne til at realisere et datacenter.

Borgmesteren peger på, at erfaringerne viser, at alt skal være klar – både jordkøb og lokalplan – hvis det skal lykkes.

Varde Kommune arbejder også med en anden lokation på samme størrelse ved Vester Nebel, og for begge grunde arbejder man på at tiltrække co-location datacentre i samarbejde med Invest in Denmark, oplyser kommunen til Jydske Vestkysten.

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God energi på foreningens anden generalforsamling

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Der er gået mindre end to år siden starten, men sikke en udvikling!
Datacenter Industrien afholdt 5. marts sin anden generalforsamling hos Schneider Electric i Kolding, og foreningen er nået rigtig langt siden stiftelsen 30. marts 2017.

“Det har været en fantastisk udvikling indtil nu – og vi ser masser af tegn på, at udviklingen vil fortsætte de kommende år,” sagde formand Thomas Volder bl.a. i sin beretning, hvor han også viste et oversigtskort over de mange projekter for både datacentre og dataforbindelser.

“Udover flere store datacentre har vi også endnu bedre, internationale forbindelser på vej. Der er mange forskellige grunde til, at Danmark er godt på vej til at blive et nordisk datahub, og jeg håber, vi vil se meget mere komme i de næste år.”

Thomas Volder kunne samtidig glæde sig over, at Datacenter Industrien nu tæller 77 medlemmer i skrivende stund. Desuden er sekretariatet blevet styrket med bl.a. ansættelsen af Merima Dzanic, som har tilført stor erfaring med og et stærkt netværk i den internationale datacentersektor.

Merima præsenterede bl.a. de nye features på hjemmesiden, som er under løbende udvikling, og opfordrede samtidig medlemmerne til at bruge den aktivt – bl.a. til at hente og dele information.

“I vores members area er der adgang til hente bl.a. præsentation og white papers. Hvis I har andet materiale, I gerne vil dele med de andre medlemmer, er I meget velkomne til at sende det os, og lad os endelig vide, hvis I har andre ønsker til medlemssiderne,” lød opfodringen fra Merima Dzanic.

Hun har også været primus motor bag foreningens første webinar, som blev en stor succes med mange deltagere. Der er flere på vej – det næste bliver 4. april – og foreningen fortsætter med at udvikle sig ud fra medlemmernes ønsker og behov.

“Vi kan også hjælpe med at sætte møder op og bringe folk sammen. I forhold til til eksport har vi jo en begrænset geografi i Danmark, så på et eller andet stadie vil vi have udfyldt potentialet herhjemme. Og så er vores ambition, at I som medlemmer har opbygget jeres egne kompetencer, erfaring og track record, så I kan være med til at bygge de næste datacentre ude i verden,” fastlog Thomas Volder.

“Vi kan se, at det danske indhold i datacentrene vokser, så her er et eksporteventyr, der skal opdyrkes.”

Næste større begivenhed bliver Datacenter Industriens store konference ‘Data Centers Denmark’, der afholdes 15. maj i UN City, København.
Se mere om årets store begivenhed på konferencens egen hjemmeside.

Lars Mejsner fra Grundfos er nyt medlem af bestyrelsen for Datacenter Industrien

 

 

Den formelle del af Datacenter Industriens generalforsamling blev hurtig og effektiv med orientering om driften, uændrede medlemsgebyrer og kun en enkelt ændring i bestyrelsen,
hvor Business Development Manager Lars Mejsner fra Grundfos erstatter Christian Jølck.

 

 

 

 

Generalforsamlingen blev fulgt af et medlemsmøde med fokus på grøn energi og lagring af energi. Country Sales Director – og næstformand i Datacenter Industrien – Tina Schou fra Schneider kunne som dagens vært byde velkommen og slå tonen an med et eksempel på udviklingen fra hendes egen verden.

“Vi sidder nu i Schneider Technology Center, hvor 200 medarbejdere her i Kolding arbejder med udvikling for datacentre globalt. Oprindelig overtog Schneider den lokale produktionsvirksomhed Silkon lige her – og nu er det udviklingscenter,” fortalte Tina Schou.

“På et overordnet plan kan vi kigge på klodens ressourcer for de næste 40 år, hvor det samlede energiforbrug ventes at stige med op til 50 pct. Samtidig er det målet at halvere emissionerne, så det betyder jo, at vi skal være tre gange mere effektive.”

På den ambitiøse note kunne hun give ordet videre til sin kollega, Schneider Electric IT Denmarks adm. direktør Morten Støvring.

I dagens første oplæg tog han udgangspunkt i energilagring for UPS batterisystemer (uninterruptible power supply) og de strukturelle ændringer i energisystemet, f.eks. på Californiens såkaldte ‘duck curve’ over strømforbruget. Med lidt god vilje og fantasi ligner kurven mere og mere en and med sit store dyk i forbruget midt på dagen og et stigende peak ved aftentide, der former ‘andens hoved’.

“Nogle trends har en overraskende effekt, og midt på dagen er der nu perioder, hvor der slet ikke aftages strøm i Californien på grund af stigende solcelleproduktion. Californien er jo plastret til med solceller efterhånden,” påpegede Morten Støvring.

“Normalt ville el jo være dyr midt på dagen, men i måske 2020 vil der være overproduktion midt på dagen.”

Udviklingen åbner nye muligheder for at lagre strøm midt på dagen og overføre den til spidsbelastningen – og måske endda tjene penge på det.

“Hvis man er storforbruger – som f.eks. et datacenter – har man jo også noget power at flytte med, så måske kan man i fremtiden nøjes med mindre kapacitet til spidsbelastningen og få resten fra et batterisystem,” fortalte Morten Støvring.

“For datacentre er det jo kritisk med oppetiden, og der kan ikke accepteres fejl. Men de moderne systemer med lithium-ion batterier kan kobles med monitorsystemer, så det ikke bare er et ‘dumt’ batteri, men et smart batteri, der overvåger og beskytter sig selv. Og der vil komme software værktøjer, som muliggør ‘peak power shaping’. Det kræver dog, at man skal have systemet bag, og det skal også være teknisk muligt at føre strøm tilbage til nettet,” understregede Morten Støvring.

 

Sales engineer Jean Baptiste Barbenchon fulgte op med et indlæg fra det franske selskab PowiDian, der arbejder med brændselsceller og er et spinoff af Airbus Defence & Space.

Gennem fem års levetid er PowiDian nået langt med løsninger, der kombinerer lagring af strøm med brændselsceller og/eller f.eks. solceller og vindmøller.

“Brændselsceller er nu blevet en moden teknologi, og  den nærmeste fremtid vil vi få CO2-fri og konkurrencedygtig brint til at drive dem. Samtidig forudser vi et forbud mod fossildrevne backup generatorer i byområder, og brændselsceller er skalérbare, har minimal vedligeholdelse og øjeblikkelig start. Så de egner sig godt til backup – også for datacentre,” fremhævede Jean Baptiste Barbenchon, der fra salen blev spurgt, hvornår han ser teknologien blive mainstream i datacenterindustrien.

“Måske om 10-20 år – omkostningerne er faldt på selve brændselscellerne, så det afhænger nu af prisen på brint. Norden er den del af Europa, der har vist størst interesse for teknologien, og vi arbejder allerede på projekter i Norge, mens Sverige også har vist interesse.”

 

Dagens sidste oplæg kom fra netop Sverige, hvor Peter Hellberg, er arbejder med forretningsudvikling og salg hos Vattenfall, fortalte om selskabets tilgang til bl.a. den overordnede ‘grid challenge’.

“Vi ser stigende datamængder med 5G-nettet lige om hjørnet, flere elbiler, der skal oplades, Internet of Things og generel elektrificiering, som altsammen udfordrer elnettets kapacitet. Vi står foran markante udfordringer for at levere den strøm, der skal til,” fastslog Peter Hellberg.

“Vi har tilstrækkelig produktion i dag, men vi har ikke udvidet nettet i den grad, der bliver brug for i fremtiden. Alle i branchen arbejder hårdt på at udvide nettet, men det tager lang tid at fremtidssikre – også så nye brugere kan kobles på,” lyder udfordringen, som angribes fra flere vinkler hos Vattenfall.

Dels med såkaldt ‘peak shaving’ ved hjælp af bl.a. batterisystemer, dels med optimering af nettet samt lokalt supplement med f.eks. solcelleproduktion, dels med lukkede løsninger, hvor f.eks. en kunde fik en løsning til opladning af elbiler med solceller og batteripakke, der slet ikke koblet på nettet.

“Vattenfall driver allerede en række energilagre rundt om i Europa, og vi ser lagring som en vej til mere fleksibilitet på vejen mod fossilfri energi,” fortalte Peter Hellberg.
“Lagring kan også afløse konventionelle dieselgeneratorer – bl.a. på datacentre, hvor vi også kan f.eks. finansiere og tage ansvaret for hele højspændingsdelen.”

 

Netværksmødet sluttede med en fælles debat, hvor alle tre indlægsholdere besvarede spørgsmål fra salen og kom med deres bud på udviklingen indenfor bl.a. batteriteknologi, brint og lagring som en del af løsningen. Det blev også nævnt, at en gigant som Microsoft allerede har etableret et datacenter i Seattle, der udelukkende drives af brændselsceller.

Esbjerg Kommune tror på nyt datacenter

Facebook har besluttet at stoppe projektet for et datacenter ved Esbjerg, meddelte man i går til Esbjerg Kommune.

“På trods af de mange åbenlyse fordele, heriblandt den fordelagtige adgang til højhastighedsfiber og vedvarende energi samt stærk støtte fra Esbjerg Kommune, har vi alligevel måttet konkludere, at grunden – samlet set – ikke er den rette placering for vores næste datacenter i Europa,” lyder meldingen fra Facebook.

Esbjergs borgmester Jesper Frost Rasmussen ærgrer sig naturligt nok over de skrinlagte planer, men er dog fortrøstningsfuld over for at tiltrække andre investorer fra branchen.

“Jeg fik ikke en enkelt grund – beskeden var, at beslutningen var truffet på baggrund af en række forskellige faktorer, som samlet set betyder, at de ikke vil binde an med projektet alligevel. Men nu er forarbejdet gjort til det tidspunkt lige om lidt, hvor de næste fiberoptiske søkabel-forbindelser rammer Esbjerg, og jeg anser det for helt naturligt, at der kommer et datacenter på den placering på et tidspunkt,” siger Jesper Frost Rasmussen til avisen Jydske Vestkysten.

DANISH DATA CENTER INDUSTRY ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH DIGIPLEX

DigiPlex, a Nordic data centre colocation provider, has recently joined the Danish Data Center Industry (DD)) to share knowledge, participate to the expansion of the digital economy in the Denmark, and further their reach into the regional data center market.

Denmark was an obvious target for DigiPlex. The Nordic data centre company has a strong reputation in designing, building and operating data centres in Norway and Sweden – all with a strong focus on innovation, sustainability and security.

“We have seen a very interesting development in the Danish market over the last couple of years due to a successful national strategy to prioritise and invest in fibre connections and the right energy setup. Denmark has recognised the potential of the data centre market and is well-placed due to its central location close to Germany and the rest of mainland Europe”, says Gisle M. Eckhoff, CEO of DigiPlex.

With the opening of the Copenhagen data centre in May, DigiPlex’s portfolio has grown to nearly 340,000 sqf of data centre space across five sites: one in Denmark, one in Sweden and three in Norway.

The 17,200 sqf building is approximately 10 minutes’ drive from Copenhagen’s International airport at Kastrup. DigiPlex joins the likes of Facebook and Google, which are also building and/or planning data centres in Denmark.

“We are looking forward to be joining the Danish Data Center Industry Association alongside the other regional and international heavyweight members”, says Mark Kjeldstrøm, Operations Manager at DigiPlex in Denmark.

Henrik Hansen, Director of DDI adds: “The Nordic data center market is experiencing tremendous growth in recent years, creating vast opportunities for the regional market. With the latest announcements and activities, we are excited to be welcoming DigiPlex to Denmark and to our executive member roster. DigiPlex has a strong reputation in sustainability, security and resiliency, which is high on the agenda for the association. We look very much forward to our mutual collaboration on developing the industry in Denmark and the Nordics.”

About DigiPlex

DigiPlex designs, builds and operates data centres in the Nordic region. The company specialises indelivering tailored, secure and resilient environments with the highest possible availability. Both private and public organisations, including security-sensitive customers such as government and financial institutions, trust DigiPlex data centre solutions. All DigiPlex data centres are powered exclusively by sustainable sources of electricity. Read more at www.digiplex.com

About Danish Data Center Industry

The Danish Data Center Industry (DDI) serves the purpose of attracting more data center investments to Denmark. As the industry association, we represent the interests of the private sector, municipalities and utility companies operating within the data center supply chain. Read more at www.datacenterindustrien.dk.