Boden Type DC – Newsletter Q2 2020
The BTDC project goes on in the uncertain times of the pandemic and the consortium proudly reports about the highlights of the past few months.
In this edition we cover BTDC’s newly achieved EU Code of Conduct status, close a full year of operation, share an interview with one of our advisory board members, Michael Schön and introduce consortium member Fraunhofer IOSB.
- Boden Type DC is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon2020 programme.
- The aim of the project is to build and operate the world’s most cost and energy efficient data center at minimal environmental impact.
- 5 consortium members from 4 countries.
- H1 Systems.
- Fraunhofer IOSB.
- RISE SICS North.
- Boden Business Agency.
- The pilot site of the concept called Boden Type DC One was built in Boden, Sweden in less than 5 months.
- Boden Type DC One was inaugurated in February 2019.
- 180 m2 total white space with 600 kW total capacity.
Boden Type DC One approved as Participant in the EU Code of Conduct for Energy Efficiency in Data Centres
The Boden Type DC consortium was informed in June 2020 that our application as a Participant in the EU Code of Conduct for Energy Efficiency in Data Centres had been approved.
The EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) is a series of 150+ best practices that can be applied to a data centre to make it more energy efficient. The practices can be implemented on legacy or new builds. It covers general management, IT procurement and operation, cooling technologies and operation, other data centre ancillary equipment, UPS selection and operation, some design principles and finally measurement and monitoring to a granular level. It also references other data centre concepts and guidance from around the world.
Boden Type One DC meets the vast majority of these best practices and has been accepted into the participant scheme.
The consortium appreciates the help of John Booth from from Carbon3IT Ltd who attended the Boden Type DC One site in Jan/Feb 2019 to prepare and assist the project with the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres participant application forms pro bono apart from travel and accommodation costs.
John believes that “all EU organisations and those that receive funding from the EU for any project that involves a data centre site should, by rights also participate in the EU’s own scheme for designing and operating energy efficient data centres. It is important that the EU set a desirable example to all data centre owners and operators, especially when the EU has warned the sector that “Data Centres can and should be carbon neutral by 2030” and is considering legislation and other regulatory schemes, it stands to rights that an existing well used and recognised scheme should be used.
The Boden Type DC One is an excellent example of an energy efficient data centre site, albeit with a unique IT estate, mostly OCP and specialised equipment, and stripped down to the bone in terms of capital plant infrastructure, with free cooling and adiabatic systems and as you would expect, little in the way of other infrastructure that one would expect on a conventional site, but it is a testbed and this should be expected. It is effectively a blueprint for a hyper-edge site.”
John provided an update and his views on the site in his blog, which can be found https://carbon3it.blogspot.com/ He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org for engagements on other sites.
The EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres has been created in response to the increasing energy consumption in data centres and the need to reduce the related environmental, economic and energy supply security impacts. The aim is to inform and stimulate data centre operators and owners to reduce energy consumption in a cost-effective manner without hampering the mission critical function of data centres. The Code of Conduct aims to achieve this by improving understanding of energy demand within the data centre, raising awareness, and recommending energy efficient best practices and targets. More here https://e3p.jrc.ec.europa.eu/communities/data-centres-code-conduct.
Bodentype DC completes one year of operation
The Bodentype Data Center One has been operational for more than one year with a complete cycle of data. The data center has 3 PODs with different combinations of direct fresh air-cooling systems installed. POD 1 has been operating a so-called test campaign of 6 days pre-programmed and specially tuned IT workloads every 21 days. The other 15 days were devoted to innovative tests and trails involving hardware, process control and system level software. All monitoring and workload deployments were operational by the 5th March 2019 and the first test campaign started on the 18th March 2019 running on repurposed Open Compute Project (OCP) Windmill servers with the last 6-day test campaign ending on the 7th March 2020.
The project has produced copious amounts of operational data, which is to be made available for download via an Open Research Data Pilot linked to a re3data indexed repository hosted via the Fraunhofer Fordatis during the summer of 2020. In addition, an excel spreadsheet is available from the BodenTypeDC website that contains average hourly data of weather and ambient conditions, power consumption, temperatures in the cold and hot aisles, CPU temperatures, server utilisation, cooling equipment and server fan speeds. Additional sheets contain the data averaged per day and then per week yielding 364 days and 52 weeks together with power transient reports associated with operating the data center with no centralized UPS.
With annual data the BodenTypeDC project was able to complete its participant submission of the EU Code of Conduct for the operation of energy-efficient data centers. (see details above).
Click below for access to the data spreadsheet
Interview with Michael Schön, member of the advisory board of the BTDC project
Michael has been a scientific employee of the Fraunhofer Institute for many years. He worked particularly in the field of energy efficiency and sustainable climate strategies. After some positions in the energy industry he took over the position as Managing Director at the focus.energie e.V. in 2017.
Michael, focus.energie e.V. is a local organization in Karlsruhe and plays a significant role in the energy sector. But what does it do exactly?
Fokus.energie e.V. is consolidating energy related activities in the region of Karlsruhe. The region is very active when it comes to energy technology and research as well as IT. Our aim is to create awareness about the competencies the region has in the energy sector and develop an eco-system to further stimulate the business. Fokus.energie acts also as an intermediary between the industry players and the diverse research organizations. We also have developed an accelerator for startups in the energy sector.
How important is the efficiency of a datacenter for large companies in their digitalization strategy? What do you think?
The power cost of a datacenter, be it opex or capex, is one out of many. Nevertheless, for large corporations there are multiple aspects of importance. Cost cutting is always important to stay competitive, but some have also initiated efficiency projects in order to fulfil social responsibility expectations. The sustainability of a given business has nowadays a different level of management attention compared to a few years ago. Customers are very selective when it comes to environmental treatments of potential suppliers and service providers.
How does the COVID pandemic influences the development in the datacenter industry in your opinion?
Since the pandemic started, our lives have changed dramatically. Many people are working from home. So am I. My computer is getting hotter and hotter (smile). The demand on IT, software and hardware has significantly increased. The cloud utilization has gone up significantly which relates to high demand on datacenter services and respectively power usage. Many companies do rethink the strategies particularly on collaboration. This change needs to be managed environmentally friendly.
How could companies benefit from a higher level of diversification of datacenter applications?
Of course, there are several levels of requirements in terms of security and latency and it makes sense to look at different service levels for group of applications, e.g. storage, HPC or e-commerce. With the trend towards multi-cloud it would make even more sense to diversify applications in terms of datacenter hosting. The problem I see right now, is a lack of communication and awareness of effects. I think companies should spend more time and effort to analyze their requirements and should be more flexible in pursuing respective solutions.
Do you think, of shore data processing makes sense?
Simply speaking, it is easier to transport data compared to power. Many applications are dominated by processing requirements rather than transactions. Wherever latency is not important, it is worth investigating respective opportunities. The Nordics and particularly Sweden with its EU membership has an excellent business and environment value proposition for such developments.
How can the BTDC project and in particular the holistic approach improve the efficiency?
The holistic approach is the key of success and the optimization of the interaction between the various components leads to an ultra-efficient datacenter. We do need a higher level of diversification; we do not need a tier 4 certification for all applications.
What makes the BTDC project so special in your opinion?
The team which has been created with members of different countries and different industry sectors and research organization have brought an enormous knowhow together. Because of the EU funding and the open approach, we will see a significant impact since the working results are disseminated to the whole industry.
A sustainable energy and environmental strategy need to be seen in multiple layers. We do have ambitious targets and we should concentrate to look at what can be done by whom best. We need to look at the entire eco-system and not just reduce CO2 levels only. I would like to invite readers to cooperate and use the competence of the Karlsruhe region to create a better future.
Meet our consortium members – Fraunhofer IOSB
Developing innovative visual systems. Making best possible use of sensors and interconnecting them. Processing and evaluating the resulting data flows. Using this data to efficiently support humans in making sound decisions, improving processes and controlling autonomous systems in an intelligent way. This complete process and value chain is our domain. It combines the three core competences that are reflected in our name – optronics, system technologies and image exploitation.
- Optronics is concerned with the generation of light, its beam shaping, propagation and transformation into electronic signals - i.e. in particular with technical processes to generate images (in the broadest sense) of the world around us.
- Image exploitation investigates methods and algorithms to obtain information and ultimately relevant insights from the images.
- System technologies ensure a holistic approach: We not only develop components and algorithms, but also complex hardware and software architectures. The resulting information technology systems support people on the basis of sensor data, automate certain tasks and/or open up new paths in human-machine interaction. We set the highest standards in terms of interoperability, IT security and data protection/privacy.
The Fraunhofer IOSB in numbers
5 sites of Fraunhofer IOSB. The main sites are located in Karlsruhe and Ettlingen, further branches are in Ilmenau, Lemgo and Görlitz. A contact office is in China in Beijing.
64 million euro was the amount of our investment and operating budget in 2019.
700 men and women form part of our regular staff. In addition to our permanent staff we also engaged 170 student assistants and interns.
1956 is the founding year of our institute, at that time still in Tübingen. Under its current name "Fraunhofer IOSB", however, the institute has only existed since a merger in 2010.
Just like Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as a whole, we stand for application-oriented research for the benefit of our society and a stronger economy. We are active in research and development and put the findings into practice, turning state-of-the-art scientific insights into technological innovations. We shape the future.
In this process, scientific and technological excellence form part of our DNA, and so do customer orientation and reliability. Issues such as open standards, interoperability, IT security and data protection/privacy are our passion.
Structure and networking
Fraunhofer IOSB's five business units bundle the institute's portfolio with regard to specific application areas and markets. The central competence carriers and organizational units are the 15 scientific departments. Six of them are based in Karlsruhe, five in Ettlingen. Two departments each are located at the Fraunhofer IOSB-AST in Ilmenau and the Fraunhofer IOSB-INA in Lemgo.
At all sites, our institute is closely networked with the local universities and colleges: Staff at Fraunhofer IOSB hold professorships and teaching positions, and professors are engaged as external advisors of the institute.
Data center are playing a role in essentially all of our business units. But most prominently they are considered in the Automation and Digitalization area. Here we are working on architectures and solutions to organize services from the shop floor technologies up to smart factory networks.
Modern data centers are offering unique features to deploy services in very efficient and flexible ways, to archive low engineering and maintenance costs for very reliable and cost-efficient solutions.
Many activities where we as Fraunhofer IOSB are involved, like the European GAIA-X project to create a data-ecosystem according to European values and standards, are showing clearly how important data centers will be for our future digital infrastructure.
But this attractiveness of data centers comes with a price – the ever-increasing demand on computing and storage capacity, does also increase the demand of electric power. A data center is consuming electricity and it is producing information. And it is the effectiveness of this transformation, which is defining the costs. That explains the interest of the Fraunhofer IOSB in the BTDC project.
Fraunhofer IOSB in the BTDC Project
Our role in the BTDC project was that of a user for data center. The primary goal of the project is to develop the most energy efficient cooling approach for any type of IT-workload. Especially the type of IT-workloads, to be expected in future use case scenarios, like SmartCity and Industrial Internet of Things solutions. These are two prominent application domain examples, utilizing some of the most dominant trends in cloud computing. Namely hyperscale data centers, with the capability to scale rapidly on growing demands, artificial intelligence, with the demand for processing high number of events within complex models, or edge computing, for being close the connected devices to enable low latencies and heavy data traffic.
The challenge was to come up with a simple but flexible way to define IT-workload scenarios, and at the same time to create an emulation framework to actually perform these IT-workloads on a real data center, as close as possible to real applications. We called this emulation framework the “IoT-Benchmark” and made it available as open source on github (see
The benchmark may also be used to evaluate deployment options for real applications. Unlike many real applications, it is very easy to scale the benchmark IT-workload in various dimensions. Like event rates, calculation demand, number of tasks, and others. For example, if a SmartCity application designer likes to test if his data center is capable of dealing with expected load created by thousands of citizens, he might not be able to simulate this load, but the benchmark could be configured to ramp up to such a load.
Where to meet us
Tamás Balogh, Director H1systems speaks at w.media’s Data Center Series
Data Center Power & Cooling: Sustainable design & Innovations
Thursday, 27th of August - 11.15 a.m. – Singapore/HKG time
- RISE SICS North colleagues Jeffrey Sarkinen , Rickard Brannvall, Jonas Gustafsson and Jon Summers held a presentation with the title “Experimental analysis of server fan control strategies for improved data center air-based thermal management” at Itherm Virtual2020 (The 19th Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems).
- POD2 was populated by testing partner HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd in July. The company helps improve efficiencies operating GPUs.