Techbuyer, a sustainable IT solutions provider with its headquarters in Yorkshire, is expanding its research and development team with an exciting new research project that looks at previously unconsidered parameters for data centre efficiency.
The research project and team will help with the push towards net zero in the data centre sector by investigating the server environment, which has a significant impact on server performance and energy draw.
The team will be partly funded by the UK Research Institute (UKRI) through a future leader fellowship.
Rich Kenny, Group IT Director at Techbuyer explains: “The data centre sector is predicted to grow 500% globally between now and 2030, and internet traffic is expected to increase by 220% over the next five years. Data centre IT hardware has a huge environmental impact, containing 23 of the 30 Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) – materials in short or politically unstable supply according to the EU – and taking just under a tonne of CO2 to produce one server.
“If we don’t find ways of prolonging the life of IT hardware, we are not going to have the metals or rare Earths needed to build a renewable grid. We must be smart about the way we design and run our data centres if we are going to drive real change.”
Dr Stephen Clement, holder of the fellowship and whose AI and systems engineering research has been published in several internationally peer-reviewed conferences and journals, joined Techbuyer earlier this month.
Also joining will be Dr Dan Burdett, who majored in ‘Analysis of Thermal and Compute Performance of Data Centre Servers’ at the University of Leeds and developed a new server modelling process that incorporates the behaviour of hardware and software within a server.
The research project aims to:
- Understand the relationship between industry efficiency measurements (SERT) and real-world effect on server efficiency due to the deployed data centre environment (temperature, air pressure, containment etc.)
- Prototype a unique holistic approach to building a data centre digital twin
- Create an optimisation tool for data centres based on the digital twin
Techbuyer’s latest project follows the success of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) with the University of East London. The research, recently published as an ‘Optimising server refresh cycles’ IEEE paper in the Journal for Sustainable Computing, proved for the first time that not only were refurbished machines equivalent to their new alternatives, but also that an immediate past generation server with the correct upgrades could outperform the latest generation.
Whereas traditionally the advice was to replace IT hardware often with new equipment, these findings revealed that since 2015, refreshing with upgraded refurbished machines can actually be more efficient over time from an energy use standpoint as well as on cost.
This information lead to the development of Interact: Techbuyer’s new start up that optimises the carbon load, supply chain emissions, energy efficiency and costs of data centre IT hardware using a unique machine-learning tool.
Just six months after launching, Interact won two GLOBEEs at this year’s IT World Awards: Silver for IT Project of the Year, and Bronze for Start Up of the Year.
Techbuyer’s Nour Rteil was at the forefront of the original research as well as Interact’s machine-learning tool. She has now joined the new research team as Lead Researcher. Also joining the new team will be Astrid Wynne, Techbuyer Sustainability Lead and Interact Head of Partnerships, who was also part of the original KTP research project.
“I’m very excited to be continuing my journey with Techbuyer and taking on a new challenge,” Nour states.