A Center for Sustainable Cloud Computing

Today’s data centers consume extraordinary amounts of power, often measured in tens of megawatts per installation and equal to the power draw of 40,000 residential homes.

The high power requirements are, in part, due to inefficiencies of existing server processors, which are deployed by thousands in each data center, yet are poorly matched to the memory-intensive software applications powering online services (including web search, social networking and business analytics). With data  centers already currently consuming approximately 2% of the global power budget, experts are projecting exponential growth in data center power consumption in the coming decades.

The physical space and power limitations that inhibit the growth – and increase the costs – of large-scale data centers must be overcome. Optimal performance of the memory-intensive software applications powering online services (including web search, social networking and business analytics) is hindered by inefficient chips, energy budgets and conventional server processors (which were designed for a broad range of workloads).

The EuroCloud project targets a 10x improvement in data center cost- and energy-efficiency, representing a major step toward sustainable data center IT. The EuroCloud team have been developing advanced low-power server architectures with many cores and integrating 3D DRAM to provide very dense low-power microprocessor technologies, adapted from those used in mobile phones. This This technology can scale to hundreds of cores in a single server, and make a 1M core data center feasible. The commercial application of these results would make European data center investment more affordable, thereby facilitating industrial growth. EuroCloud has laid the foundation for funding research on green data centers as a separate program in FP7 and Horizon 2020, the upcoming next-generation EU funding program.

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.”

Dr. Max Lemke, Deputy Head of Unit for Embedded Systems and Control in the Directorate General Information Society and Media of the European Commission, referred to the project in  order to illustrate how the main goal of research in computing systems is getting energy efficient and low-cost computing technologies into the full spectrum of devices and systems, from mobile and embedded systems to data centers and supercomputers. “Computing is a key enabler for Europe’s competitiveness in engineering, which is a key driver for the European economy. Europe has to leverage its unique expertise in embedded and mobile computing systems to innovate in energy efficient and low-cost computing technologies,” Dr. Lemke said.