Thursday, 20 November 2008

EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres Launched

The European Commission has launched its much awaited guidelines and recommendations for data centre best practice which it believes could lead to a reduction in energy consumption by data centres in Europe of up to 20%, in line with the EU's overall 20/20 (20% CO2e emissions reduction by 2020) target.

The Code of Conduct has been developed over the past two years by the JRC Institute for Energy (IE), in consultation with a range of stakeholders including industry experts, equipment vendors and representatives of both data centre owners and operators. (The JRC is the EU's Joint Research Council, who's stated aim is 'to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies').

The EU has set its sights on the 56TWh of electricity it has estimated were consumed by data centres across Europe in 2007 - 'close to the yearly total electricity consumption of the Czech Republic'. It estimates that if no action is taken that figure will almost double by 2020.

The code is intended to 'inform and stimulate data centre operators to reduce energy consumption in a cost-effective manner without hampering the critical functions of the facility'. According to the JRC there has already been a response from industry, with some operators already starting to implement many of the best practices (although I can't help wondering that might not just have been part of a general move in the industry to make data centres more efficient to reduce energy bills).

There's a lot in the Code, which you can read here, but the JRC cites three of the main areas as:

- Using energy efficient servers and virtualisation
- Not 'over-cooling' data centres, i.e. providing more cooling than is actually required
- Better management of the data centre environment through design, using natural cooling, etc.

The Code is currently just providing direction to the industry, but there must be a likelihood, if not an inevitability, that as legislation starts to kick in and targets get nearer it may eventually become enshrined in law.

© The Green IT Review

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