There are a number of practical ways to overcome renewable energy limitations by adopting HRES. (I wrote about this in my previous article about using renewable energy for data centres.)
The question is, what’s the next step?
Are there other ways to eliminate reliance on fossil-fuel-generated electricity for mission-critical facilities (i.e. data centres)?
The good news is, the answer is ‘yes’. And it lies in the concept of virtual data centre migration.
What is virtual data centre migration?
As the name suggests, all the migration activities are virtual. There’s no physical movement of IT boxes involved.
Effectively, data is migrated from one site to another via high-speed fibre connection.
Take data mining and processing, an activity that constitutes a considerable portion of energy consumption in data centres.
Imagine if data mining and processing only occurs during the time that power generated by renewable energy sources is available. At times when renewable energy isn’t available, data can be migrated for processing to data centres in locations where renewable energy is available.
In simple terms, it’s a cycle for migration based on availability of renewable energy in each geographical location.
For instance, if data is being processed in a data centre in Melbourne, Australia, depending on solar radiation intensity and wind power on a given day, the data can be migrated in stages to a site in the northern hemisphere where there are higher levels of solar radiation and wind energy.
What are the benefits of virtual data centre migration?
The result is decreased greenhouse gas emissions (direct and indirect) from IT equipment power usage and the facility that supports it.
This approach also enables data centre owners to manage their resources more efficiently, as well as minimise the footprint required for auxiliary power equipment on site.
How does the live data migration work?
GreenStar, one of the pioneers in driving virtual data centre migration and power-on-demand architecture, has developed a network topology to cater for the migration of data according to the renewable energy available.
This can be managed through a smart network algorithm, with a high-level interface to the building management system to trigger migration.
A welcome addition to HRES solutions
Virtual data centre migration architecture appears to be very promising.
It’s an astute solution for managing migration of live data from one data centre to another following green-energy source availability. Particularly solar and wind energy.
Whether a major international organisation will take this approach and host its data in data centres where virtual migration is practised, remains to be seen. It’s early days.
However, considering the initiatives in the market to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions, higher investment in this field is expected.
We’ll be seeing the solution developed further to improve its resilience, scalability and ongoing cost.