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Expert Interview with Jorge Balcells on Green Data

Where do Cloud Computing and Green IT intersect? We recently asked Jorge L. Balcells, Director of Technical Services for Verne Global.

Where do Cloud Computing and Green IT intersect? We recently asked Jorge L. Balcells, Director of Technical Services for Verne Global.

The data center, he says.

“Quite simply, the data center is at the heart of the Cloud,” Jorge told us. “Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability go hand in hand with modern data centers and the cloud computing infrastructure.”

And both are significant deciding factors for companies who are looking now more than ever before to locations where the data center can be naturally cooled and supplied with renewable energy.

“Given that most traditional data centers run at only 10 percent of capacity, it can also be much more efficient for an organization to ‘share’ resources via cloud solutions,” Jorge adds.

Verne Global is so interested in the green data industry, it created Green Data Center News, a newsletter and website to share news updates and trends.

Here, Jorge shares more of his insight on the importance of Green IT. Read on:

What is your professional background?

My responsibilities at Verne Global include thought-leadership for future data center design, as well as operational best practices. I have held previous positions for corporations like Dell, Terremark/Verizon, and Schneider Electric. In these roles, I’ve led global teams in manufacturing, design, commissioning and operation of data centers across four continents. I hold a Mechanical Engineering degree from Georgia Tech and am a Certified Data Centre Design Professional (U.K.) and a Data Center Energy Practitioner (U.S.A.).

Tell us the story behind Green Data Center News. When and why was the site started?

Seeing no single source to capture all the news impacting the green data center industry, Verne Global established Green Data Center News. A website and daily newsletter, Green Data Center News provides original content written by industry leaders, curates industry topics and distributes headlines via social media.

Readers, subscribers and followers of the site receive the latest news in the areas of green IT, data centers, energy efficiency, cloud computing and everything in between from sources such as bloggers, online trade publications and corporate announcements. The ability to collect relevant news into one source gives readers all the latest happenings from around the industry. The daily newsletter allows for selected headlines to be delivered directly to the subscriber’s inbox, giving easy access to top news.

Built on the Curata platform and launched in 2008, Green Data Center News captures the attention of a global audience - including readers from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and India. The site has helped draw in global top tier press, generate leads and maximize brand visibility with thousands of visitors each month.

How would you define Green IT?

Green IT is a term that describes the full lifecycle of IT hardware and devices - from the raw materials that are used in manufacturing computers and other IT gear, to the energy used to power them, and finally the methods of disposing them once outdated or otherwise unusable. Green IT looks at the resources used in all of these aspects and works towards reducing waste in all areas. Everyone from server manufacturers to energy suppliers are key players in making IT more “green.”

What can businesses do to make their IT more green?

One thing that any business can do is to look at where they store their data. An astonishing 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last three years alone, and most of this data is stored in data centers. Unfortunately, not all data centers are environmentally-friendly. Companies should look for a data center that is energy efficient and environmentally sustainable - ideally in a location powered by renewable energy. In Iceland, for example, data centers can be naturally cooled and supplied with renewable energy. This not only makes good environmental sense, but also good business sense. Iceland’s power grid gives companies energy pricing predictability as opposed to with other energy sources, as there are not the same associated price fluctuations such as with fossil fuels.

Why should enterprises care about Green IT?

Incorporating sustainable business practices could be a smart business decision as renewable sources of power could directly impact a company’s bottom line. Why? Many of the fossil fuel-based power grids around the world are aging and are starting to max out in their power capacity. The U.K., for example, only has 4 percent spare electricity capacity in its power grid this year. In the U.S., the electric grid loses power 285 percent more often than it did in 1984. These power losses cost American businesses as much as $150 billion per year.

A company could mitigate these losses by running their IT infrastructure - data centers in particular - from a renewable power grid. Iceland, for example, has a 100 percent dual-sourced renewable power grid. It has also been rated among the top 10 most reliable grids in the world. These factors can make it an appealing, low-risk decision for companies to place their business applications in a data center like Verne Global’s that can take advantage of the Icelandic power grid.

What are some of the most-read topics on your site right now? What’s your audience buzzing about these days?

The top articles on Green Data Center News have recently focused on various challenges faced by CIOs, including rising data center costs, power outages, and ways to reduce carbon footprints.

What are some of the biggest headlines you’re following in Cloud Computing and the explosion of Data Centers today?

Many of the headlines we follow pertain to the far-reaching impacts of the continuing explosion of data: availability of energy to power expanding data centers, reliability of power grids, and carbon footprints of growing data centers.

What innovations in cloud computing are you most excited about today?

Tomorrow will be different than today, but yet incredibly similar to the past. In my early days in college, I remember registering for classes via a “dumb” terminal with a character-based system. This terminal communicated back to a mainframe where all the “real” computer work took place. I see the “cloud” as nothing more than a very large mainframe, shared among many users who have “not-so-dumb” terminals in their handheld devices. The cloud lives in our data centers and I truly enjoy working right in the heart of all the action.

Follow Green Data Center News and Verne Global on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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