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Lavenya Dilip

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Smart Grid: Blog Feed Post

What does the rise of smart grid mean for data centers?

There is a huge initiative among companies like Google, IBM, Cisco and so many other smaller smart grid players to make the grid more modernized using cutting edge digital technology and  tackle environmental issues, cost reduction  and energy conservation. We employ integrated communications, sensing and measurement technologies, enhanced interfaces and control methods to optimize our electricity transmission.The common smart grid components incorporating network, wireless and IT technology consist of smart meters, data concentrators, system monitoring software, increase in transmission lines etc. They help oversee the precise location of electricity consumption and predict potential blackout areas. Consumers can also monitor more clearly where and how the electricity is being absorbed which will provide them with more leverage to effectively save on energy.

When President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill on Feb. 17 , 2009 , a large part of his strategy focuses on renewable alternative energy to gain energy independence but one of he largest investments, about $11 billion dollars has been dedicated to in smart grids.So it is no surprise that smart grids are being touted left, right and center by VCs and technocrats alike and promises to have a huge impact in the immediate direction of high tech and energy industry.

What does all this mean to data centers? Well according to CNetnews, this data overload due to smartgrid implementation will lead to increased demands on data center . The article cites the case of Duke Energy which has contracted with Cisco to build an “information architecture” to handle an anticipated flood of data from its smart-grid programs where it will be installing hundreds of thousands of smart meters in the next two years. Duke Chief Technology Officer anticipates that gathering data from sensors on cables, people’s appliances, and substations could add up to a millions of nodes on the network.

“Once utilities put in smart meters, their data processing and storage needs explode. Instead of sending a person to read meters once a month, information for billing or other applications can be sent back once a day, once an hour, or even every few minutes. If utilities are regulated to reduce peak time usage, their IT needs shoot up even higher. Demand response where a utility can turn down energy use at participating customer sites, requires utilities to poll information regularly from a potential large number of locations. “

Mark Weiner director of Data Center Solutions and a member of a Cisco smart-grid team is quoted in CNet news article:

“The requirements are for huge amounts of data to be involved when you have these more advanced pricing models where the goal is to mitigate power generation,” said Weiner. “The catcher’s mitt for that data is the data center.”

It is logical to conclude from the above that now more than ever there is an even more increased pressure to make your data center technology as energy efficient and cost effective as possible in anticipation of future requirements.  For specialized software and hardware deployments that would help you in this effort, contact us at GreenRack Systems.

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Lavenya Dilip was responsible for Marketing at Green Rack Systems.