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Monday, March 05, 2012

AIMS: Meeting the Green Agenda Call For Data Centers

AIMS Group (‘AIMS’) the country’s premier carrier-neutral data center calls for local data center players to stay focused on the data center community’s Green Agenda.

This is in light of the increasingly challenging task for data centers to stay cost effective for their customers, whilst upgrade existing infrastructure in order to incorporate new technologies to stay competitive via the offering of more Cloud-based applications and services.

According to Chiew Kok Hin, CEO of AIMS, the Data Center Green Agenda is part of the IT sector’s overarching green initiative.

“Yet there are quite a number of factors to juggle simultaneously for data centers to stay green and remain competitive at the same time. Power (or electricity) bills, for example, make up the biggest cost, attributing almost 30 per cent of typical data center cost.”

“Besides the cost saving measures taken in the daily operations, higher power subsidies by the government can definitely help – so that data center providers can focus their spending on leading-edge technologies such as Cloud delivery models of computing services.”

He says, “Although existing power subsidies are helpful, the local community of server co-location infrastructure providers, further government assistance can definitely help the collective local data center market work more efficiently towards achieving the Green Agenda.”

As it is, Malaysia is already a natural option for the building of data centers due to its abundant land resources, multi-lingual workforce, stable Internet connectivity and a geographical haven from natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons.

Chiew says, “In fact, PEMANDU has explicitly mentioned its objectives to promote Malaysia as a Regional Data Centre Hub by being the preferred destination for data center investors; and increase the supply of space in Malaysia from 0.5 million square feet to 5.0 million square feet by 2020 to capitalize on the strong growth of Data Centre revenues in Asia Pacific.”

AIMS’ Power Consumption Efforts

To this end, AIMS, as well as most data center providers, is already making continual efforts to reduce power consumption by these data center support systems such as:-

  • Arranging data center server racks around to move cold and hot air more efficiently to reduce power bills and improve system efficiencies by up to 20% or more.
  • Introduce virtualization technology so that lets one machine do the work of many (by cleverly assigning the servers resources to perform the same functions), to saving power and money while minimizing the environmental impact.
  • Replacing the data center light source in data center with networked light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as a more efficient source of semiconductor-powered lighting that also brings improved lighting quality.
    “We need to think hard about IT power usage not just to reduce power consumption, but how to cope with we still have to cope with the ‘Big Data’ explosion of data in this digital era. Organizations cannot spend unlimited money to host their data, applications and services at data center facilities,” ends Chiew.
AIMS currently runs two Data Centers - each located in Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya. AIMS’s expansion plans include two more data centers in Cyberjaya and Johor Bahru. It has attained the ISO 27001:2005 certification from the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 2010. The Information Security Management System of AIMS satisfies the rigorous independent audits, with the adequate and proportionate security controls to protect the data and servers for over 250 of its clients.

AIMS’s annual CSR activities include the yearly Earth Hour participation.  

Achieving Better PUE

Electricity consumption contribute contributes directly to a data center’s ‘green indicator’ known as Power Usage Effectiveness or ‘PUE’. Whilst the industry’s ideal for data centers is a PUE score of 1.0, fact is the average data centre only manages a PUE of about 2.0.

“In layman terms, this means that it take about 200kW of electricity to operate only 100kW worth of IT equipment. It’s like requiring 2x power points to power up just one single PC!”

*PUE = Total Facility Power / IT Equipment Power. PUE is the ratio of power used by the data center facility to the power delivered to IT equipment itself. The ideal PUE score is 1.0, which means that every watt consumed by the data centre is spent on its IT equipment.

According to The Green Grid (which is an association of IT professionals seeking to raise the energy efficiency of data centres), a lot of the energy that goes into powering data centers is not actually spent on the IT equipment itself by is instead consumed by data centre support systems such as lighting, ventilation and cooling.

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