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Nice, France, 5 May 2011 - Data centres are vital to tackling environmental issues, according to Aaron Davis, chief marketing officer of Schneider Electric. "We must decouple our growth from our energy consumption," he said in his opening address to Data Centres 2011 in Nice, France, today. The conference is the seventh Data Centre Europe event and features 85 speakers. The 550 delegates are from some 30 countries.

Mr Davis said that, by centralising data processing, data centres were increasing energy-efficiency. In coming years, technology had to decrease its carbon impact by a factor of 10 to offset the effects of population growth. Mr Davis also said that security was a central issue. Intelligence agencies were looking at how to attack data centres, including attempts to shut down power supplies. Concluding, Mr Davis said: "Data centres will be a major part of the next stage of human evolution."

Mark Monroe, executive director of the Green Grid , told the conference that his organisation’s scope had expanded from energy-efficient IT to resource-efficient IT. The grid had introduced effectiveness metrics for the use of both carbon and water.

Dr Paolo Bertoldi of the European Commission described the EU's code of conduct for data centre energy efficiency. This was a voluntary scheme and its metrics focused only on energy efficiency. The code was for data centre owners and operators, as well as for endorsers such as consultants. The code includes best practice guidelines. 75 data centres have been approved under the scheme and another 30 are being appraised for approval. There will be code of conduct awards presented this evening at Data Centres 2011.

Early decision-making and planning in the development of data centres can lead to earlier break-evens, Mark DiStefano, president of Nova, told the conference. He also described how equipment can usefully be installed incrementally. Mr DiStefano told the conference in Nice that the electrical and mechanical labour portion of a data centre project accounted for around 30% of the project. This was followed by equipment purchase cost and then by spending on the structural shell.

Marion Howard-Healy of BroadGroup described the rapid rate of technological growth and change. Facebook now had 600 million users. It had achieved this in six years while it took radio some 30 years to do the same. Morgan Stanley had predicted that by 2015 more people would be accessing the internet by smartphone than by computer. Amazon had redefined data centres by becoming highly customer-friendly. Marion pointed out that business units used to behave as customers, asking IT to do something for them. These days, business and IT processes were intertwined. Last year the number of key cloud players increased from 150 to 250 in nine months.

Dipl. Ing. Bernd Becker of EuroCloud Europe said that EuroCloud was a network of 25 national cloud organisations which had come together in just 16 months. National compliance regulations differed greatly. Some countries insisted that data was kept within Europe or even within the same country. EuroCloud's Star audit of data centres is based on the Enisa scheme. It includes a SaaS-ready certification. EuroCloud has a booth at the conference.

Gregor Petri of CA Technologies said that the data centre industry could follow the model set by iTunes' decision to make the universal price of a downloadable song 99 cents. The key to the cloud's future was cooperation between enterprise applications. Enterprises would no longer have a wall around them. There could be redundant arrays of clouds to avoid unreliability. Mr Petri suggested that enterprise applications should be movable across cloud providers, avoiding lock-in. People were looking at the cloud with pre-cloud attitudes; they were too focused on platforms and not enough on how users wanted to act and behave.

Colt used the conference to launch modular data centre form factors of 125 m2, 250 m2 and 375 m2 data halls as well as multiple combinations of each model. The new offering provides customers with unparalleled flexibility in power density, size and tier configurations. Customers had asked for new options because of differing land size and land use.

EBRC used the conference to launch trusted cloud services from its two certified tier IV data centres in Luxembourg. The services will address security and availability concerns about critical operations. The announcement came at Data Centres 2011 today. All services are delivered with ISO27001 and ISO20000 certification and strictly monitored service level agreements. They will support private, community or hybrid cloud and are aimed at customers needing high performance and flexibility for mission critical business activities in sectors like critical e-commerce, banking and finance.

The conference concludes tomorrow afternoon. BroadGroup can be contacted today and tomorrow on +44 7947 123299 and as


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