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Comparing our energy efficiency to datacenters using PUE and SPUE

At Nerdalize, we want our energy consumption to be as low as possible, which means it is essential to use our energy efficiently. In order to do so, we find it important to be able to calculate our energy efficiency as accurate as possible. In this blog, you can read about how we are able to calculate our energy efficiency, using the PUE and SPUE score, and how this allows us to compare our own efficiency with other datacenters.


How to calculate the energy efficiency of the cloud

A common method to determine the energy efficiency of the cloud is by calculating the power usage efficiency (PUE) of datacenters and the server power usage effectiveness (SPUE) of their servers. Although we do not need to build an entire datacenter, the PUE and SPUE scores can be used to calculate the energy efficiency of the Nerdalize servers and our network infrastructure. This makes it possible to compare our distributed cloud services to the cloud services of a datacenter.

The lower the PUE, the higher the efficiency of the facility.

The lower the SPUE, the higher the efficiency of the servers.

The PUE score is the energy efficiency of the entire facility, for example the entire datacenter or the network of Nerdalize CloudBoxes. However, only using the PUE to compare the datacenter efficiency, does not take into account the energy efficiency of the servers themselves. We incorporate the SPUE score in this comparison, through which the efficiency of the servers can be calculated. For the calculation of the SPUE, the useful IT power is used. Useful IT power is the power that is actually used by the hardware to perform computations. This does not include the power loss at server level and the power used by supporting equipment like fans and switches.

PUE = Power usage of the data center divided by Power usage of the servers, SPUE = Power usage of the servers divided by Useful IT power

The Nerdalize CloudBox vs. datacenters

In our blog on life cycle analysis, the total amount of CO2 emissions per KWh of useful IT power is calculated, where both embodied and the operational emissions are taken into account. The operational emissions are caused by the energy use. The energy efficiency is determined by calculating the PUE and SPUE scores. For the different scenarios the energy efficiency is expressed by their PUE and SPUE:

A traditional datacenter

An average datacenter in the Netherlands has a PUE of 1.7, a SPUE of 1.6.

A high efficiency datacenter

A high efficiency datacenter has a PUE of 1.17, a SPUE of 1.25.

A Nerdalize server-header

The Nerdalize CloudBox has a PUE of 1.02 and a SPUE of 1.07.

Since the Nerdalize CloudBox only needs a small amount of energy, which is only primarily by the servers, the operational emissions are very low.

How our PUE and SPUE can be so low

What makes our energy use so efficient, is that almost all the energy we use goes directly to the computations performed by our servers. Because of our efficient cooling system, only 2.2% of the total power consumption of our servers goes to cooling and general overhead. Resulting in a PUE as low as 1.02! Of the resulting power, 6.7% is lost on the power supply unit and the network switch, which makes that we have a SPUE of 1.07.

This efficient system makes it possible to use only the minimum amount of energy. Resulting in a cloud solution with a very low carbon footprint. Because we save on energy and don’t have the costs of building a datacenter, our computing power is also very affordable. Up to 50% more affordable than other cloud providers!

About our CO2 savingsheater
Liesanne Wieleman
posted this June 1, 2017

Dutch company Nerdalize utilises server-heat in innovative heating system

From August onwards the first Dutch households can enjoy a free shower, warmed up by the heat of computer servers. For Nerdalize, this is just the first step in their mission to provide free server-heat to everyone in the Netherlands. They’ve developed a heating system, fed by the residual heat of computer servers, which can save households around 300 euros a year on their heating bills and significantly cuts back on CO2 emissions. In datacenters this residual heat needs to be cooled away, leading to high energy usage. Through the proceeds of a crowdfunding campaign, in which more than 200 people have invested so far, Nerdalize wants to equip the first 42 households with their heating system.

In 2015 Nerdalize ran a test with Eneco, a large Dutch utility, amongst 5 households. Servers were placed in houses for a few months and the server-heat was directly transformed into usable heat via a radiator. This means Nerdalize doesn’t waste energy on cooling servers. Instead, the system uses the energy for the servers twice: once to compute and once to heat water. In the new version, the servers are connected to the central heating system. This way, the heat can be utilised throughout the year for hot water. This setup saves money for households, but also for companies and researchers. As Nerdalize does not need to build an expensive datacenter, companies and researchers can compute for 50% lower costs!

If Boaz Leupe, co-founder of Nerdalize, has his way, data is on the verge of becoming a lot greener. And not a minute too soon: already datacenters emit more CO2 than the global airline industry.

So far, 3500 people have signaled their interest in the heating system and Nerdalize is kicking off to provide the first 42 households with free server-heat. Leupe has already raised €250,000 via the crowdfunding platform Symbid, but now hopes to raise €500,000 in investment. “If we reach our target amount in a month, we can start equipping the first houses with our server-heater from August onwards!” says Boaz Leupe.

Nerdalize’ crowdfunding campaign will run until the end of June.

Nerdalize — Providing cloud services that are almost CO2-neutral

Current datacenters are huge energy wasters. Not only is a lot of energy is spent on the building and infrastructure, computer servers produce a lot of heat, therefore a lot of energy is needed to cool down all the servers in the datacenter. Although datacenters are getting more efficient in their energy use, the increasing cloud market makes that the datacenter industry now emits more CO2 than the aviation industry and this share is only getting larger. That is why we at Nerdalize are working hard on a sustainable alternative to current cloud solutions.

That all sounds pretty great, but what is the actual effect of our approach on the environment? That is what we asked Bas Minnema. During his graduation project for Science, Business & Innovation at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, he made an assessment of the total CO2 emissions in the life cycle of a Nerdalize server-heater.

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About our CO2 savingsheater
Liesanne Wieleman
posted this May 15, 2017

Empowering biologists with SeDEx

Data and computations play an increasingly important role in many research fields. From chemistry and physics to economics, a lot of data is being generated these days, and increasingly sophisticated algorithms are being developed to make better use of that data.

Erik Schultes, scientific project lead on FAIR data at the Dutch TechCenter for Life Sciences (DTL), saw the same developments within the field of biology. On the one hand, a lot of data on protein sequence data is already available. On the other hand, over many decades numerous algorithms have been developed that use these data to predict the complex folded structures of proteins. Unfortunately, these two developments, data versus algorithm, remain largely isolated from each other, because biologists are not trained in the necessary computer science skills to put them into practice.

Digital image of a protein

SeDEx, a data platform for biologists without IT training

Large-scale protein structure prediction is still very difficult for the biologist without a lot of IT training. To fill in the knowledge gap between the known protein sequences and the unknown protein structures, Erik came up with the idea for the Sequenomics Data Exchange (SeDEx); a platform to make it easier for biologists to combine all this available data with state-of-the-art algorithms for structure prediction.

With the SeDEx, we need to do a lot of computations. It’s very parallelized but it is a lot. Nerdalize solves this problem for the SeDEx. It makes scalable compute resources easily available to biologists without IT training.

Erik Schultes

Converting protein sequence to structure
SeDEx fills in the knowledge gap between protein sequences and structures

The goal of SeDEx is to help biologists obtain predicted structures by making sequence data, structure prediction software, and compute resources easy to use through a simple graphical user interface. Nerdalize provides the computing power behind the SeDEx, making automatic structure prediction easy and affordable. The SeDEx is also a FAIR publication platform, allowing biologists to easily share their findings with the community. Applications of the SeDEx are found throughout basic research, biomedicine, nanotechnology, and industrial enzyme engineering.

The SeDEx opens a whole new window for the biologist, to the enormous universe of possible protein sequences and structures, even those yet to be discovered by life. A great use for our compute capacity! At Nerdalize we are very enthusiastic to be working together with DTL on making the SeDEx a reality.

Now that our compute jobs are so big, we needed to find a solution. Working together with Nerdalize has been a real breakthrough for us.

Erik Schultes
About our customers
Maaike Stoops
posted this March 27, 2017

How winning sustainable & innovation awards helped us

Accenture Innovation Award

Over the last years, we have won several great competitions on sustainability and innovation, such as the Accenture Innovation Award and the EIT Innovation Award. We have worked very hard and are happy to call ourselves winners of these competitions.

In 2015 we won the Accenture Innovation Award. According to the jury, Nerdalize was the most promising innovation on the theme of Clean & Affordable Energy. Central to this topic was the conversion of CO2 into valuable products, changing the energy supply and other energy saving measures.

We have faith in the concept of Nerdalize.

The Jury (Accenture Innovation Award 2015)

Doen Energie (S)Topper competition

In 2016, we have won the Doen Energie (S)Topper competition. We are proud that we have won the title ‘Zero Hero’. According to the jury, we think big and our sustainable solution will tackle two problems at the same time: heating homes with sustainable energy and reducing the energy demand of the datacenters, one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels.

EIT Innovation Award

Winning the EIT Innovation Award in 2016, made us ready to scale-up production. During the accelerator programme, we have built a network, gained access to several customers and potential partners, and seen our system piloted in five homes.

EIT Awards winners are Europe’s top change makers. We are proud to empower these talents to turn their amazing ideas into products and services that create new companies and jobs for Europe.

Martin Kern (EIT Interim Director)

By winning these awards we have met some awesome people, who gave us advice, connected us with the right people or supported us financially. Additionally, these awards have motivated us to continue our business and make it successful. We are very grateful for this experience. Because of these events, we are now growing into a successful company and close to providing CO2 neutral cloud services. Thank you!

About our company
Liesanne Wieleman
posted this March 16, 2017

Congratulations Marinus with your graduation!

Marinus

We are very happy to share that Marinus graduated in Mechanical Engineering today with an 8.1! Marinus joined Nerdalize as a working student in our first hour and has been helping us a lot with the work he did for his graduation project over the last six months. After a well-deserved holiday, Marinus will now join our team as a full-time hardware engineer.

Congrats Marinus! We are very proud of the result and extremely happy that you will stay part of the Nerdalize team!

About our team
Posted February 2, 2017

Mark Rutte raises a glass to the renewed collaboration between Nerdalize and Eneco

Speech by CEO Boaz Leupe

Following a successful pilot, Nerdalize and sustainable energy company Eneco are expanding their collaboration to build a cloud that provides sustainable residual heat to Dutch homes. This was announced by Boaz Leupe, CEO of Nerdalize, and Elmer de Boer, Manager Ideation at Eneco, in the presence of prime minister Mark Rutte during his visit to start-up incubator and home of Nerdalize YES!Delft.

The cloud exists in expensive datacenters that hog energy. Nerdalize has developed a product that allows the residual heat of a cloud server to directly contribute to the heating system of a home at no cost, allowing both homeowners and professional cloud users to save money and energy. Nerdalize cloud users may easily save 50% on their cloud costs as they no longer pay for a cooled and expensive datacenter.

Raising a glass Speech by prime minister Mark Rutte

Through the collaboration between Eneco and Nerdalize, we can together offer companies a sustainable and affordable alternative to traditional cloud providers and simultaneously provide residual heat to homes. At Nerdalize we are therefore very excited about expanding the collaboration. Eneco, as a large and sustainable energy company, has a shared vision, large customer base and the efficiencies of scale to make our dream reality; making Nerdalize the greenest and one of the biggest cloud providers by providing hundreds of thousands of homes with sustainable server-heat. Nerdalize and Eneco will soon announce more information about this fantastic, next step.

About our company
Posted December 7, 2016

Stimulating green energy production, while saving energy!

Green energy is the future, that is one thing we are sure about at Nerdalize. So why is not all land filled with windmills and are all rooftops covered with solar panels? Many people are still cautious when it comes to investing in these green technologies. Luckily, Solar Monkey found a way to minimize this worry. They are able to accurately calculate the expected energy production of solar panels on your roof. With a 100% guarantee! Together with Readaar we are working to realize their ambition of a sustainable future.

As part of the YES!Delft incubator and as a Climate-KIC alumni we often connect with people from the most brilliant startups. This is especially exciting when it enables us to work together in a way that is both beneficial for the startups, as well as the environment. This happened when we ran into Sven Briels and Matthijs van Til from Readaar.

Readaar developed a smart way to analyze aerial imagery and LiDAR data (height information) in order to find different kinds of information on rooftops. The YES!Delft startup, Solar Monkey uses this data to design the best configuration for solar panel installations. A problem both companies run into is that the coordinates of the height information don’t match the coordinates of the aerial imagery. Readaar has built an algorithm to match the aerial imagery with the LiDAR data.

LiDAR data Aerial imagery

These algorithms are very compute intensive, thereby requiring vast amounts of computing power. Readaar was looking for a cloud provider for doing their analysis. Of course the well-known cloud computing platforms of Google and AWS are available to them, but instead they chose to use our servers. We offered a more affordable solution, but Readaar was especially charmed by our sustainable approach.

At Nerdalize we provide a sustainable solution for cloud computing. We use the same energy twice, once for computing and once for heating. Computer servers produce a lot of heat, so traditional data centers use energy to cool their servers. Instead we place our servers into homes. This way we use the heat that is generated by useful computations where it is needed. Companies use our server-heaters for many different kinds of computations. This time we use them to analyze aerial images in order to estimate the energy production of solar panels. Next time, who knows? We are very excited to work together with Readaar and Solar Monkey in stimulating green energy production, while saving energy with our servers!

About our customers
Liesanne Wieleman
posted this November 25, 2016

Geological computations, easily deployed in the cloud!

Devices and organisations gather more and more data. When applied right, this data can be very useful in industries like science and engineering. Large amounts of data are used for quantitative analyses, real-time monitoring and simulations. Geology is a good example of an industry where large amounts of data are processed. For example, GPS coordinates, LiDAR data and satellite images. Engineers keep their computers running overnight and during the weekends hoping that their computation will be done when they return to their desk the next morning.

The cloud is a great solution for these engineers and researchers, giving them access to scale up their processes to unlimited amounts of computing power. But how do these engineers and researchers, that are not trained in IT, get access to cloud resources? The Nerdalize cloud platform makes this easy for them!

Yesterday, I presented the Nerdalize Cloud Platform to a group of geologists at GeoBuzz. Engineers and researchers can use our platform to deploy large computations to cloud resources, without needing the help of their IT department!

The presentation was received with a lot of enthusiasm. The nice reactions afterwards ensured me that what we learned from user tests during the development of the platform really appeals to a large target group. Motivating us to keep developing a platform that can easily be used by everybody with a need for processing large amounts of data!

Maaike pitching Nerdalize at GeoBuzz

About our customerscompany
Maaike Stoops
posted this November 24, 2016

On the move

What started with three people pursuing a (rather ambitious) plan, already developed into a team of 16 working on hardware development, software development, business development, operations, sales, marketing, finance and HR. A bigger team requires a bigger office. So after extending our current office a number of times it is now officially time to take a bigger step. Last Friday we moved into our new office!

No worries, we are still based at YES!Delft, we just moved into their new building where we have more space, a better view and a bigger workshop. So everything we need to work even harder on building our sustainable cloud!

Curious? Feel free to come by and check out our new spot!

About our teamcompany
Maaike Stoops
posted this November 14, 2016