Accenture to launch 'Green Data Centre Calculator'

The company's product is intended to help companies improve the environmental efficiency of their data centres and cut costs

Data centres are computational workhorses which can greedily gobble up to 100 times more power per square foot than your average office, according to Accenture.

On Friday, Accenture will launch the beta of its Green Data Centre Calculator, aimed at helping companies tame energy-hungry data centres, potentially bringing huge cost savings and environmental benefits.

The service will produce a tailored plan of the best way to improve environmental efficiency in data centres, together with cost-reduction predictions, based on case studies of previous company savings.

With a typical data centre consuming a watt in cooling for each watt used in computation, Accenture estimates companies could recoup the money from green-calculator initiatives within a year.

Companies enter into the calculator information including the number and size of their data centres, their energy provider, the cooling and cleaning set-up, data-centre utilisation figures and details of the server storage network.

Using this, the calculator recommends the best way to achieve savings, ranging from consolidating equipment — for example, by buying more efficient servers, lighting and cooling systems — to process optimisation — for example, by using energy-efficient services, virtualisation and minimising redundancies.

Trends can be built into the calculation such as the price of electricity, capacity costs and future carbon costs.

Accenture Technology Labs' Teresa Tung said: "A data centre typically uses up to 10 to 15 times more power per square foot than your average office block, and can use up to 100 times more per square foot if it is poorly configured."

"In London, commercial power is being capped until the Olympic Games. This is a really big business problem because companies are not able to meet demand in the same way," said Tung.

Tung added: "We can spell out a lot of different scenarios using mathematical models to find out the best solution for data centres, based on company experience."

The total cost of carbon offsetting can also be included in the calculation.

About 20 companies are currently included in the calculator's green-savings database, but the company hopes to expand this number before the full service goes live in about three months.