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Dr. Stu Redshaw, Chief Technology Officer at EkkoSense the datacentre thermal risk specialists.

According to datacentre commentators, the amount of energy used by datacentres is doubling every four years, while some analysts estimate that Google’s own total power usage has gone up 12-fold in the last four years alone. In Europe the UK is taking the lead in datacentre energy consumption, with London in particular accounting for a significant proportion of overall market growth.

Whether it be enterprise Big Data usage, growth in mobility or the continued demand for cloud-hungry services, today’s digital economy means that datacentres are now a critical part of the business infrastructure. Interruptions to service are increasingly hard to accept – particularly as downtime has such huge cost implications.


REPORTING So today’s challenge of datacentre energy usage is two-fold, being as much about risk management as it is a financial concern about reducing

company expenditure. Unfortunately the industry’s response to the issue to date has largely been one of overkill. Datacentre managers recognise that IT equipment overheating is still the root cause of around 29% of unplanned data centre outages – so to avoid this they zealously apply expensive cold air to prevent this happening.

“Google’s total power usage has gone up

12-fold in the last four years alone.”

However, there is clear evidence that a more intelligent, end-to-end approach to cooling is now required – one that makes sure the right levels of expensive cold air are applied exactly where they need to be, and not anywhere else. Unfortunately much of the datacentre industry still relies on historical data reports to manage their thermal risk levels. Information is collected and saved


for post-event analysis. The reality though, is that identifying risks or thermal inefficiencies this way means it’s probably too late for any kind of resolution. What’s needed is faster access to thermal information. Datacentres have been around for almost 50 years, and their management really should have now moved beyond tick-box performance monitoring.


INTERNET OF THINGS To fix this issue we’ve had to look to other IT disciplines to start to gain a true real-time perspective of datacentre thermal utilisation – and to create a new understanding of what datacentre thermal monitoring best practice should be like. Specifically, we’ve been working on an innovative approach to creating real-time 3D representations of how datacentres are performing in terms of hot and cold spots. By using 3D gaming-style software and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors we have been able to provide

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