RISE SICS North Newsletter 2018:2
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RISE SICS North Newsletter 2018:2
RISE SICS North national Infrastructure and Cloud datacenter test Environment (SICS-ICE)
Date: 2018-08-10

News in short
  • The Innovation cluster pre-study is finalized and the work showed the need of a Swedish datacenter industry association.
  • We organized a three-day workshop in the datacenter working-group of the EUREKA CELTIC PLUS project SENDATE with visits to Hydro66 and Blockbase facilities as highlights.
  • A master thesis by Johannes Sjölund to enable real-time simulations of thermal flows has been concluded.
  • Another master thesis by Kristina Sandström examined the possibility of using residual heat from data centers to dry wood chips and other biomass.
  • The Datacenter Innovation North project with a total budget of 30 MSEK has been funded through EU Structural fond partnership for North Sweden for development of the north region datacenter sector.
  • The AutoDC project on autonomous datacenter with a budget of 78 MSEK got approved for financing by Vinnova for the ITEA3 EUREKA cluster program.
  • The Swedish energy agency has granted funding for a study of in-row and rear-door cooling. The total project is 1,2 MSEK during 2018.
  • After a few months of preparatory works the European consortium in the H2020 BTDC project broke ground and started the construction works of building the prototype of one of the worlds most efficient data center.
  • We have been active at a number of conferences for example at E2DC - 7th International Workshop on Energy Efficient Data Centres, at Datacloud Europe in Monaco and at Datacentre Transformation in Manchester.
  • We are active on our blog at http://ice.sics.se/ on twitter @SICS_ICE https://twitter.com/SICS_ICE and with a Linkedin Group https://twitter.com/SICS_ICE
The national datacenter innovation cluster
The Swedish Energy Agency has financed a pre-study for a nationaldatacenter innovation cluster during the spring and it has concluded. The project partners have been RISE SICS North, Business Sweden, LTU Business, RISESME and LTU-CDT. Co-funding companies are Ericsson, ABB, Vattenfall & Skellefteå Kraft via Nodepole, E.ON, Intel, Schneider and Vertiv. Many smaller companies and other organizations have also participated in meetings, interviews and workshops
The plan from the Swedish Energy Agency is to give an assignment to a few national organizations to organize different industry sectors and to help companies  bring innovations to international markets. We plan on submitting one application from RISE SICS North to become the national node in the datacenter industry.
During the fall the Swedish Agency of Industry growth will finance a short continuation where we look at business development support for SMEs and how to better attract more women into the industry sector.
We will also try to start the association “Datacenter Industry Sweden”. A nominating committee will first be set-up and bylaws formulated. The mission will be that the industry organization is a uniting force and the cluster initiative support development of Swedish companies product and service innovations. The vision is that The Swedish datacenter industry is globally acknowledged as world leading in datacenter innovation in smart energy solutions.
The Winning Proposition for the “Datacenter Industry Sweden” association is:
Generate more business to the target group by - opening doors toc ustomers, inform about tenders, position Swedish industry, support innovation projects, increase visibility and create networking opportunities.
During the fall we will organize two workshops targeted datacenters for European large research infrastructures like CERN, MAXIV, ITER,EISCAT etc. We will also invite to a first annual meeting for the “Datacenter Industry Sweden” association. Hopefully we also will start the planning of being presentat Data Centre World 2019 in London with a Swedish pavilion.
The Datacenter working Group of the EUREKA CELTIC PLUS project SENDATE had a workshop in the Luleå region
We organized a three-day workshop in the datacenter working group of the EUREKA CELTIC PLUS project SENDATE in June. 20 participants from other sub-projects joined our sub project SENDATE-EXTEND for the workshop on datacenter topics.

On the first day Facebooks site manager Joel Kjellgren visited our workshop and presented the operations of a mega-scale IT infrastructure. A very interesting presentation on everything from facility to IT server and networking operations.

Day two was demo tour day. The day started with a visit to RISE SICS North datacenter test facility ICE. Followed by two visits in Boden to Hydro66 20 MW facility and to Blockbase new 10 MW and old datacenter. It was very interesting to see the difference between a true co-location facility and a block-chain computing facility. The day was concluded at the Great Falls in Älvsbyn.

The third day we had a number of presentations from the different sub-projects for example about operations of datacenter facilities using digital twin methods, networking equipment costs and Open stack management.

Real-time Thermal Flow Predictions for Data Centers
To enable real-time simulations of thermal flows Johannes Sjölund has performed his master thesis at RISE SICS North during the spring. The purpose  is to investigate the usage of the Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for real-time simulation and prediction of indoor air flows inside a data center module. 

To perform the simulation a program called RAFSINE was used, written by Nicholas Delbosc at the University of Leeds, which implemented LBM on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) using NVIDIA CUDA. The program used the LBM model called Bhatnagar-Gross-Krook (BGK) on a three-dimensional lattice and had the capability of executing thermal simulations in real-time or faster than real-time.

A simulation model was developed describing the geometry, temperatures and air flows of an experimental data center module at RISE SICS North in Luleå, based on measurements and equipment specifications. The thermal model could be validated by comparing it with measurements recorded from sensors mounted in the experimental data center.

The thermal prediction was found to be accurate on a room-level within ±1◦C when measured as the average temperature of the air returning to the heat-exchange cooling units, with a maximum error of ±2◦C on an individual basis. The thesis discusses possible sources of error and suggestions for model improvements.

In order to use the LBM CFD program even from hardware not equipped with NVIDIA GPUs it was deployed on a remote networked server accessed through Virtual Network Computing (VNC). Since RAFSINE featured interactive OpenGL based 3D visualization of thermal evolution, accessing it through VNC required use of the VirtualGL toolkit, which allowed fast streaming of visualization data over the network. The thesis describes the deployment of VirtualGL as well as some performance and usability enhancements made to the RAFSINE source code.

Biomass drying using residual heat

During the spring Kristina Sandström has been with us at RISE SICS North doing her master thesis project at LTU. The master thesis has examined the possibility of using residual heat from data centers to dry wood chips and other biomass. 

To know the amount of residual heat available at data centers a market study was carried out with data centers and the amount of available biomass was surveyed at biomass companies that are located in the North of Sweden.

To be able to calculate the amount of biomass that can be dried with a specified IT-power and exhaust air temperatures, experiments were conducted in a data center test facility to obtain measurement data. In the experiments, airflows at different exhaust air temperatures and IT-power were investigated. From these airflows and theory for drying of biomass and moist air, calculations were made resulting in the amount of moist biomass that can be dried and the corresponding amount of dry biomass available after drying.

The experiments were carried out with IT-powers between 31,85-60,95 kW. This resulted in drying powers between 25,96-58,05 kW. This is lower to due to losses during the experiments and because the power required to heat the water in the air is eliminated. The exhaust air temperatures used in the experiments were 30, 35, 40 and 45 ◦C.

The experiments with lower temperature resulted in a larger airflow due to the higher demand of cooling. These airflows have resulted in the highest flows of biomass. From this the conclusion is drawn that the airflow weighs heavier than the air temperature when residual heat from data centers is used.

35 million SEK to regional data center/ IT innovations
The northernmost region of Sweden could become world leading in data center and large-scale data management.
This is in all cases the goal of Datacenter Innovation North, one of the projects that recently was awarded funding from EU Structural fond partnership for North Sweden.

The Datacenter Innovation North project with a total budget of SEK 30 million, of which half is funded through EU Structural fond partnership for North Sweden, will last for three years. The project will focus on small and medium-sized companies whose business is within realm of data center businesses.

Read more >
AutoDC project got approved for financing by Vinnova for the ITEA3 EUREKA cluster program
ITEA3, an European cluster program, has previously granted a label for the project AutoDC about autonomous datacenters. Vinnova has now evaluated the project and decided to finance the work.

Total project is 78 MSEK over 3 years. Ericsson leads the project and RISE SICS North is Swedish coordinator. Partners are Ericsson, Swegon, OP5, SEECooling, SwedishModules, Hi5, Comsys, Clavister + Finnish, Canadian, Austrian and Korean partners. Sadly, but understandable, ABB decided to step out when the budget were cut for them.

The goal is to lower OPEX by making datacenter self-healing, self-optimizing and robust. Use case scenarios are edge DC, rural DCs and mega-scale DCs. The important technologies will be software redundancy, monitoring, machine learning and control. The datacenter needs to be designed for autonomous operations as well.
Move the coolant (liquid) closer to the IT for improved cooling

The Swedish energy agency has granted funding for a study of in-row and rear-door cooling. The total project is 1,2 MSEK during 2018. The partners in the project are RISE SICS North and nVent - Schroff Electronics Protection (previously Pentair – Schroff). The project name is IT-rack integrated cooling in datacenters for lower energy usage and increased heat re-use capability.

To improve electronics protection the project goal is to minimize the energy use by methods of integrating the cooling close to the IT equipment, sometimes referred to as close-coupled cooling.
The goal is increased energy efficiency by placing cooling close to the heat source integrated in the row of the IT racks or in the rear-door of the racks. With increased difference between in and out temperature of the cooling liquid, the effectiveness of the heat re-use will also improve.

The project objective is to study energy efficiency for traditional cooling using CRACs compared with integrated cooling with experimental methods. With the use of SICS ICE datacenter, solutions will be demonstrated for the industry that can be exploited in their datacenters.

If the cooling is integrated into the row, there is a potential to achieve a better airflow, which reduces the need for fan usage and thus minimizes energy consumption. When the heat exchanger is placed near the heat source, the possibility of capturing heat energy at higher temperatures increases. It also provides better performance for heat recovery.

Construction of data center prototype starts in Boden in the H2020 BTDC project
After a few months of planning and preparatory works the European consortium broke ground and started the construction works of building the prototype of one of the worlds most efficient data center.

The project funded by EU’s innovation and research program Horizon 2020 kicked-off in October 2017. The prototype facility will accommodate 500 kW of IT load and is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.

Read more >
E2DC - 7th International Workshop on Energy Efficient Data Centres
We did two presentations at E2DC - 7th International Workshop onEnergy Efficient Data Centres, June 12, 2018 in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Jon Summers had a keynote speech with the title "The 4 Es of Edge DataCenters". Abstract: For more than 10 years the data center sector has beenimproving its End use Energy demand in the face of unprecedented growth byusing metrics that focus not on Efficiency, but Effectiveness. The trend tocentralize processing and data into the cloud, which does offer most theEconomy of scale, is developing a data center ecosystem that is centralizedaround mega-scale core data centers. However, the elements (humans andmachines) that interact with these large-scale data centers are distributed andmore and more require data to be everywhere and in particular nearby. In aparody of the Vs of Big Data, this presentation will make use of as manytechnical and scientific facts as possible to reflect on the potential Es ofEdge of network data centers, which may become the Effective EconomicEnergy-Efficient Exergetic infrastructure of the future.

Jonas Gustafsson presented our work in SENDATE-EXTEND on open source tools formonitoring and measurements in datacenters.  Abstract: Data centers arecomplex systems that require sophisticated operational management approaches toprovide the availability of digital services against the backdrop of cost andenergy efficiency. To achieve this, data center telemetry data is requiredsince, as is commonly said it is not possible to manage what cannot bemeasured. This paper details how it is possible to construct the key datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) elements of monitoring and measuring bya combination of available opensource software tools that permit bothscalability and an environment where analytics can be employed on the datacenter operation, which can offer relevant insight into energy efficientoperational practices.
Read more >
We co-organized the Data Centre Transformation conference in Manchester
The Datacentre Transformation conference was held in Manchester July 3rd 2018. It was organized in conjunction with the Data Centre Alliance, RISE SICS North and the Faculty of engineering of the University of Leeds. Jon Summers has been very much involved in the organization.

It is organized with industry leading workshops hosted by top speakers including digital business, skills, energy, hybrid DC, automation and the connected world. Ian Bitterlin Critical Facilities will host an Digital business Workshop, James Kirkwood Ekkosense will lead an Energy workshop, Mark Seymour Future Facilities is hosting a Hybrid DC Workshop, Steve Bowes Phipps PTS Consulting will be leading a Digital Skills Workshop and finally Venessa Moffat Agile Momentum will host the Automation (AI/IoT) Workshop.

Read more >
Data Center technologies for the data explosion in traditional industries
Tor Björn Minde was presenting at the Datacloud Europe 2018 two-day event in Monaco. The title of the talk was "Data Center technologies for the data explosion in traditional industries".

Tor Björn started off by talking about how data processing is growing around the globe due to increased use of digitalization in products, services and business processes. The use of 5G, IoT, machine learning and automation in traditional industry will lead to a network of distributed compute power.
Then he mentioned that industries and society will accelerate offerings and services with AI, Artificial Intelligence. It requires data collection, aggregation, real-time analytics, control loops and background batch processing. It will be a competitive advantage to excel in machine learning for products and services.

Centrally in the network the mega-size datacenters will be placed close to inexpensive renewable power production. In society centers there will be mid-sized datacenters and on the edge of the network in malls, in arenas, by highways, on city streets and at industry plants it will be small sized compute containers.

All of them need to be well integrated in the electrical and thermal grids and optimized for low overhead maximizing compute per kWh. This leads to a diverse set of requirements on design and operations. Autonomous operation, software resiliency, liquid cooling, heat re-use applications and datacenter micro grid integration are key areas.

“Let AI and machine learning give a lift to your business” - breakfast event
On Tuesday April 26th we invited, together with the LTU FUI project, to a breakfast event “Let AI and machine learning give a lift to your business” at Vetenskapen Hus in Luleå, that had 80 participants.

The research institute RISE SICS North performs research and innovation projects with partners in many areas related to data processing. One project is a bout the opportunities with machine learning and digitalization for Swedish industry. The project D-ICE with participation from Scania and Mobilaris has the objective to accelerate the use of big data analysis in Swedish industry.

Speakers at the event included Tor Björn Minde, RISE SICS North, Fredrik Husander, Scania and Daniel Enström, Mobilaris
RISE ICT Open House
During RISE ICT Open House in Kista April 19, Jon Summers had a short talk about computing and physical limits.

His talk was "From Zettabytes to Zeptojoules – Can digital demand outstrip physical limits?".
Jon’s presentation can be viewed on Youtube.

We were also represented with a couple of demos during the event. We showed the ECC, Experimental Compute Cloud, the SENDATE, DMI, DC2BD and DRAFT projects and we showed the operation and control of our test datacenter ICE.
Read more >
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
RISE is the Swedish Research Institute and innovation partner. In international collaboration with industry, academia and the public sector, we ensure the competitiveness of the business community and contribute to a sustainable society. Our 2,300 employees support and promote all manner of innovative processes. RISE is an independent, state-owned research institute that offers unique expertise and about 100 testbeds and demonstration facilities, instrumental in future-proofing technologies, products and services. www.ri.se