Regional datacentres key to green cities

Summary:Datacentres moved to regional Australia and hooked up to the National Broadband Network will make cities more eco-friendly, according to Ilkka Tales, CEO of hosted services company Anittel.

Datacentres moved to regional Australia and hooked up to the National Broadband Network (NBN) will make cities more eco-friendly, according to Ilkka Tales, CEO of hosted services company Anittel.

Ilkka Tales

Ilkka Tales (Credit: Hostech)

"All these high rises in the cities, the vast majority of them have datacentres. They have a generator on the roof, and a diesel oil tank in the basement. The only reason cities require power 24 by seven is because of datacentres. About a third of the power use in cities is to power datacentres," he told ZDNet Australia.

"If cities want to become green they need the mandate pushing datacentres out. Datacentres don't use people, they tend to be fairly remotely managed. There are only usually a few people working in a datacentre environment and so it's going to be cost effective and much greener if those datacentres move to where those green fuel energy sources are," he added.

Tales said datacentres in regional Australia could be powered by geothermal, wind or gas energy sources and linked back to the major cities in Australia through the NBN.

"The cost of connecting those datacentres to the NBN is going to be significantly cheaper than running power cables from those new energy sources back into the cities," he said. "I think we'll find in the next five years with the NBN rolling out there will be a bigger move to regionalised datacentres."

The refocus of the NBN roll-out to regional Australia as part of an agreement between regional independents and Prime Minister Julia Gillard would only speed up this process, according to Tales, adding that the current connectivity in regional Australia prevented many businesses from moving into cloud-based services.

"If [businesses] are going to move data into the cloud, they've only got one data source back into the cloud. If the telegraph pole goes down, like in a bushfire, they'll have no data coverage," he said. "If you talk to business owners in the cities, invariably the first conversation is about the cloud. And that's good marketing from the likes of Telstra and Microsoft. In regional Australia, if you talk about the cloud they say 'oh, it's going to rain today'. It's the connectivity issue."

Tales was appointed to the position of CEO at Anittel earlier this year, after becoming a director of parent company Hostech in November 2009.

Hostech has been on an acquisition rampage in the past year, acquiring eight companies in the last few months alone.

"Our focus has been on businesses that have strong customer relationships. Especially in regional Australia the businesses have been there 10 to 15 years," Tales said of the acquisitions.

Tales describes the hardware, software, communications and storage services offered by his company as a means of becoming the "de facto CIO" for businesses.

"We try to flatline their IT costs first and foremost so it's very predictable," he said.

The company currently provides its telecommunications services for small and medium businesses from resellers such as Telstra and Optus. Tales was tight-lipped, however, on whether Anittel would seek to resell directly from NBN Co when the $43 billion network is in place.

"Watch this space."

Topics: Networking, NBN, Innovation


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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