European Commission Funds Data Centre Alliance Pan-European Research and Development Initiative
The European commission has awarded a grant of 1.7 million Euros to fund the data centre industry’s first major government-funded research and development program. The project will be led by the Data Centre Alliance (DCA) and the University of East London (UEL) supported by a European consortium of academics, regional governments and industry.
The program, called PEDCA, the Pan-European DCA project, came about as a result of industry body DCA identifying with its members that the data centre sector had never had the benefits enjoyed by most major industries of government funded research.
Said DCA executive director Simon Campbell-Whyte, “It seems incredible that a sector as important to the European economy as data centres – which every other sector now relies upon for its operations – has never had any independent government funded research into best practice, sustainability, energy reduction or training needs.”
He went on to explain that every banking transaction, airline booking, online shopping transaction, factory scheduling, e-mail, tweet Google search or Facebook status update involves at least one and often many datacentres. And everything that is “in the cloud” is, in reality, in one or many data centres.
The grant funding for the Pan-European DCA project has been negotiated over some eighteen months by DCA in conjunction with UEL and will fund the project for the next eighteen months. Work has just commenced.
The purpose of the Pan-European DCA project is to provide a pan-European ‘Academy’ to devise and then implement a Joint Action Plan for the data centre industry for the benefit of the industry in all EU member states. It will:
· Identify and validate the on-going research requirements for the data centre industry to facilitate future research funding
· Develop an independent sustainable research platform
· Leverage the expertise and skills of players within the industry throughout Europe and the world – and particularly the EU’s data centre hotspots of UK, Netherlands and Germany – rolling out this knowledge and expertise to all 27 member states.
A great advantage that DCA brings to the project is that it is a truly independent industry body whose only agenda is the betterment of the industry. Members of the DCA are widespread: from commercial and enterprise data centre operators; universities and academia; suppliers, manufacturers and service providers plus individual data centre professionals.
Deliberately an “open” project, DCA is making its members’ portal accessible to all interested parties free of charge. Anyone in the data centre industry in the EU or throughout the world can offer to contribute to the research or track its progress by completing a simple registration at www.data-central.org
Benefits to the industry from the Pan-European DCA project will be:
· The industry will for the first time have an EU-wide open research and development framework leading to much wider-scale understanding and adoption of best-practices – for example in increasing energy efficiency and in preventing the major data centre outages which too frequently affect millions of users and businesses.
· Greatly improved links between businesses in the sector and academia to ensure that both academic research and student teaching better reflect the needs of this vital sector.
· The industry will be properly positioned on the ‘radar’ of governments and grant-funding organisations
· The collation and signposting of knowledge and best practice from throughout the EU and the world and making this fully accessible to everyone– significantly increasing the industry’s collective knowledge and influence
Commented Campbell-Whyte, “In short, the Pan-European DCA project represents the Coming Of Age for the data centre industry. It is the start of the road to becoming better funded, more sustainable, more energy efficient and having the tools and support that other industries, critical to the economy, enjoy from publically funded research.
The Pan-European DCA project will be delivered by a consortium headed by DCA and UEL comprising:
· The universities of East London, Leeds, Frankfurt and Delft,
· development agencies: London & Partners, Frankfurt Economic Development Agency plus Stichting Milieuker of the Netherlands,
· from industry, Cerios Green, Aimes Grid Services and Wusys,
· plus industry research associations: DCA, Green IT and Twente Institute.
DCA co-founder and operations director Steve Hone commented, “It has been a long road to get to this point, but of course, the real hard work is yet to come. It is down to everyone associated with the DCA and the industry as a whole to really make this project count.
“Many night time hours have been spent on working on the project proposal and we would particularly like to thank the commitment shown by all parties involved, especially those at the Universities of Leeds and East London plus Aimes and Cerios without whose dedication this project would not have become possible. Moreover I would like to thank in advance everyone in the data centre industry who takes the time and effort to contribute to this project for the benefit of the industry as a whole.”
Cambell-Whyte concluded, “The Pan-European DCA project is truly is a foundation stone for the industry, and an opportunity for data centre issues to feature strongly in future research funding calls. It is strategically important for the future sustainability and health of the industry. The work has already commenced and we invite the whole industry to participate.”
About The Data Centre Alliance (DCA)
The Data Centre Alliance (DCA) is an international Industry association; the DCA’s objective is to encourage collaboration between the 27 member states of the EU and with new, existing and growing markets internationally.
The DCA is committed to capturing the best expertise and experience from across the industry for developing standards and guidelines for data centre design, construction and operation. In addition, the DCA is also dedicated to developing programmes of research and innovation to ensure the future health, growth and sustainability of the industry. Membership is open to all operators of data centres and server rooms, however large or small; organisations that supply the industry with products and services and individual datacentre professionals.
For more details on The Data Centre Alliance, visit www.datacentrealliance.org and www.data-central.org