Digital Agenda: EU-funded research to make the “cloud” greener

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A special 3D microchip, being designed by an EU-funded research project, looks set to drastically cut the electricity and the installation costs of servers in cloud computing data centres, cementing Europe’s place as the home of green computing.

Cloud data centres – thousands of computer servers in one location – can be the size of football fields and consume the same amount of electricity as 40,000 homes. The data centres are essential because they enable the cloud computing revolution: consumer services like Facebook, Gmail, Spotify and mobile apps, and business services like customer databases

The Eurocloud project has adapted low-power microprocessor technologies, typically used in mobile phones, to work on a much larger scale. Preliminary measurements show that using these technologies reduces power needs by 90%, compared to conventional servers.

These results have the potential to make data-centre investment affordable for more European companies – growing a new industry – while saving the cloud computing customers of data centres billions of euros.

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: “Today’s power-hungry cloud data centres are not sustainable in the long run. The Eurocloud chip addresses the core of this energy consumption problem. I hope further development of the Eurocloud chip will boost the position of European businesses in a sector currently dominated by non-Europeans.”

The Eurocloud server project involves researchers in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland and Cyprus. It received EU funding of € 3.3 million over 3 years (1/1/2010 – 31/12/2012) (63% of the total € 5.4 million). Here to read more.

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