Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Restoring trust for the future

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the highly honoured professor credited with being the father of the internet, has revealed that Gordon Brown has given him a job to assist the public in regaining the trust of their government. In new plans, Gordon Brown has agreed with Sir Tim, that taxpayers' money has paid for data about the government, so they should have access to it. This sudden bold move by the Prime Minister comes after a wave of resignations following the 'expenses scandal' which revealed that many MP's have been claiming for items and houses that they were not entitled to, passing them off as 'perks of the job'. Sir Tim's role will be to create a website that gives complete transparency of the government's expenditure in an attempt to restore trust before the next general election.

In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, an Oxford graduate from London, presented the first proposal at CERN for an HTTP client for the sharing of information between scientists. In 1990 with the help of Robert Cailliau, they created the first communication via the internet. This team could also be considered the parents of the modern data centre. Data centres were already in use throughout the 1980's as the reliance on computing grew across the globe, but it wasn't until the internet took off in the mid 90's that data centres became what they are today. As many companies turned to the internet as a way of marketing and creating brand awareness, the internet exploded in size which resulted in the dotcom boom. As a result data centres evolved very quickly and many new facilities were constructed.

It is believed that data centres use 3% of the worlds electricity, while in the UK this figure is over 4%. This is equivalent to around 800 2MW data centres across the country. In reality this is made up of thousands of small 10 rack or less computer rooms. The figure gives an idea of just how much power we consume in IT. 1600MW would run 3.6 million homes for a year. While our requirement for data centre space is on the increase, computer processing capabilities are also increasing which allow a single server to perform multiple tasks more effectively and efficiently. The more efficiently a server works, the faster we can receive results from it and so our expectations of how long a task should take are reduced. As a result, we have created a perpetual cycle of power consumption that will be very had to slow down.

With the release of the full Digital Britain report today, the country is expecting to see an attainable action plan to get every person in the UK on the internet at a connection speed of at least 2Mbps. With 61 million people using the internet, and internet connections getting faster, eventually becoming fibre connections, data centres will need to have faster connections into the facilities and faster servers to process the information. This will just add more fuel to the perpetual technology cycle. The cost will fall to the consumer with a premium paid for faster connections and to the data centre operator who will have to increase the bandwidth to each facility. Improving data centre efficiency is likely to be the first step in keeping costs down. Migration Solutions has created a tool for this. ERA - the Environmental Report and Assessment takes a snapshot of all aspects of a data centre from the cooling to the layout, power to the processes and procedures, to help data centre operators save money and save the environment at the same time. For more information visit www.migrationsolutions.com

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