S'pore to spur risk-averse data centers to go green

Singapore aims to allay industry fears of going green via new testbed that borrows concepts of modularization and planned green datacenter standard.

SINGAPORE--The government is putting in place new efforts to help risk-averse data centers in the island-state become more green, according to local officials.

Among other initiatives under the national green data center strategy, the country is working on creating an isolated environment for businesses to testbed energy-efficient measures for their data centers, said Ling Keok Tong, deputy director of technology and planning group at Singapore's ICT regulator, Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

He added that the country's new Green Data Centre Standard is also on track to be published by the end of 2010.

During his presentation at last week's CommunicAsia tradeshow, Ling shared that when the government commenced work on Singapore's green datacenter strategy, it realized a lot of datacenter IT managers and CIOs exhibited "risk aversion" and were apprehensive about change.

"They have something that is up and running and that is working fine, delivering the necessary service level agreements for their customers or for their organizations. So when we wanted to do something for the greening of data centers, there was a lot of [resistance]," he said.

Such a mindset was partly due to a lack of awareness as well as "commonly agreed ways of approaching green data centers", he noted.

In addition, IT managers may not have adequate expertise to go about greening data centers, he said. Being complex facilities, data centers were more than just IT equipment as there are various mechanical and electrical systems and components involved that IT managers themselves may not be familiar with, Ling said.

To help address these concerns, the IDA has partnered another government agency, Singapore's Economic Development Board, to provide a "work-in-progress" testbed that allows data centers to trial and prove new energy-efficient tools without compromising their actual facilities.

According to Ling, one example that can be tested in this environment is the application of containerization in datacenter cooling. "When you apply the concept of container data centers, you are applying what we call, targeted cooling, to where the cooling is needed most," he explained.

"You actually encapsulate your IT equipment within a confined area, and do what we call 'hot-aisle containment' or 'cool-aisle containment'. That can actually go a long way to help improve your cooling efficiency," he said.

The planned datacenter standard will also go some way to address the risk-averse mentality of facility operators in the country, he added. Driven by the Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC), it will offer a "framework to help data centers establish the necessary systems and processes" to improve energy efficiency as well as achieve continuous improvement, said Ling.

Metrics and best practices will also be included to guide datacenter operators though these will not formally be included as part of the official standard, he added.

He noted that the standard, which will be a "management system-type of standard" similar to the ISO 9000, can serve as a basis for certification. He told ZDNet Asia, however, that it would be an opt-in standard rather than one where datacenter operators will be mandated to adopt.