Is your ERP datacenter footprint sustainable?

We all want to tackle climate change as we progress towards both living and working in a more maintainable and essentially sustainable way of being. Although not every person is capable of going full-Greta (as in Thunberg, obviously), almost all of us have adopted a shared responsibility approach to plastic waste and so much more.

That shared responsibility theme also carries through (arguably) quite perfectly to the datacenter footprint that organizations will now be making in relation to their ERP stack deployment.

Sharing platter breakdown

So how does the sharing out platter break down here?

Firstly, we can say that datacenter sustainability is a shared responsibility because the datacenter folks can’t do it without the chip folks who can’t do it without the telco folks, etc. It needs good old-fashioned open source community effort. A ‘full house’ of folks in the ecosystem if you will.

Allied to this thought is the shared responsibility dynamic that exists across datacenter providers and customers. If an ERP installation is clunky, poorly planned and badly resource-allocated to the point of potentially being brittle… then – in all likelihood – it can become a bit like ‘drinking’ from the data center pipe in an inefficient (and almost inevitably more costly) way.

Given these central truths then, how are we going to tackle the issues at hand?

As Emma Chervek notes on SDXcentral, “Nearly every cloud provider is touting its sustainability efforts as the data center industry continues to grow and burden the environment in tandem. However, much of this sustainability-focused messaging is lofty, aspirational, and holds little practical value apart from positioning those vendors as bleeding hearts for the planet,” which is actually a comment that has been attributed to Gartner analyst Ed Anderson.

Dieter Holger amplifies and reinforces this issue on the Wall Street Journal by explaining that, “The big three global cloud-computing providers – Amazon Web Services, Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud and Microsoft Corp.’s Azure – are starting to vie for clients that want to measure and reduce their emissions,” all of which is according to David Mytton, a sustainable-computing researcher at Imperial College London.

One organization that may be able to help this issue is Open19, a community and open standard for enterprise and edge datacenter innovation that’s part of the Linux Foundation.

Open19 has recently released a progress update and forward-looking strategy as part of the Project’s five-year anniversary.

Spiraling ERP workloads

The team at Open19 say they understand the conduits, channels and connection points through which spiraling ERP workloads can manifest themselves. Open19 confirms that the continuous and exponential explosion of innovation that powers our ERP centric data-driven economy is requiring datacenter solutions that are increasingly customizable, flexible and economical to deploy and manage.

Concurrently, there is a major movement underway to create sustainable use and operation of datacenter technology by enterprises, clouds specialists and cloud services providers (CSPs).

Open19’s community-driven approach has focused on physical form factor specifications that can standardize complex technology innovations that require collaboration from the datacenter construction all the way through the in-rack server design. This ecosystem-driven approach ensures that these innovations can be adopted and commercialized across the industry by everyone – including datacenter operators, service providers, ODM’s, OEM’s, power and cooling technology vendors, supply chain components and end-user customers,” notes the company, in a technical statement.

This is an exciting time to be building the underlying scaffolding of the internet,” said Zac Smith, chair of the Open19 Project and managing director of Equinix Metal. “With technology consuming more resources and leading companies recognizing the importance to decarbonize their businesses, the need for disruptive technologies in the data center has never been more critical.”

As an organization, Open19 is committed to tackling these challenges in a community-driven way that benefits large and small players across the entire supply chain. “Open19 is leading the charge to democratize access to highly-efficient pluggable liquid cooling, 48V native power and form factors that dramatically reduce infrastructure and packaging waste, and introduce a circular economy for servers, storage and AI technologies in the data center,” added Smith.

Membership rosta

As an organization, Open19 has grown its membership ranks over the years with a path for significant scale with semiconductor companies, OEMs, operators, telcos, tower/real estate owners and other ecosystem players.

The Open19 Community currently includes Premier Members Cisco and Equinix. General Members include: Supermicro, Asus Cloud, Cachengo, Schneider Electric, CPC, Delta, Vertiv, Inspur, Zutacore, VPS and ASRock Rack.

On the technology side, the Open19 Platform is the best solution for rapid deployment and servicing of custom cloud and edge datacenter technologies – providing a standardized form factor that enhances existing data center investments in 19” racks and server designs.

Open19 V2 will build upon the success of our shared form factor in a variety of server and storage solutions with significant innovations including more efficient conversion and distribution,” said Sean McKilroy, program manager at the Linux Foundation. “We are also working on a pluggable liquid cooling standard for rack-mounted servers that will help OEM’s and data center operators make the necessary investments to bring disruptive cooling technologies to the broader market.”

Looking ahead, de McKilroy says that there is (as he puts it) a lot of runway ahead for new Open19 members to be a part of this innovation in a business-friendly and open community.

ERP workload in the motherlode

Taking the longer long-term view then, we can clearly see that ERP workloads will have a major impact upon the way the cloud power motherlode is called upon within modern datacenters.

With the continued rise of technology-based digital transformation, the movement to more advanced and power-hungry silicon designs and new experiences such AI and virtual reality that will play out in the metasphere and underpin web3 and the march to build increasingly sophisticated ERP solutions, modern datacenters will need enhanced capabilities to accommodate servers that require a high level of resources to power and cool.

With all of those tasks in front of us, we may wish to place additional hope in the claims being made at Open19 as the organization insists that it is at the forefront of developing standards for energy-efficient datacenters and supercomputing to reduce the significant resources consumed by the technology supply chain and reduce the carbon footprint related to technology use.

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