Eaton supports the ground-breaking DATAZERO innovation project

Date: 18.05.2018

To enable data centers to meet 100% of their primary power requirements from renewable energy sources, Eaton collaborates with industrial and academic partners.

Our world is addicted to data. Accelerating trends like cloud computing mean global data volumes are doubling every two years towards 44 zettabytes—or 44 trillion gigabytes—by 2020.

Moving, processing and storing this flood of data all requires power. As their infrastructure expands to meet the growing demands of the digital age, data center energy consumption is on course to triple in the coming decade. Already, data centers worldwide consume more power than the UK per year and produce 2% of greenhouse gas emissions—rivalling airlines.

To reduce both their operating costs and environmental impact, Eaton is committed to making data centers more efficient and sustainable. However, while data center energy efficiency is steadily improving, effectively harnessing renewable energy remains a significant challenge. Sustainable local energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are intermittent by their very nature—yet data center operations must remain reliable and resilient at all times.

To meet this challenge, Eaton is a key partner in the ground-breaking joint innovation project DATAZERO. Short for “Data centers with zero emissions and robust management using renewable energy”, the DATAZERO project aims to make data centers as green as possible by enabling them to harness multiple renewable energy sources effectively.

As an innovator in power management solutions, Eaton is proud to invest in this ambitious research. The DATAZERO project unites an interdisciplinary team from both industry and academia with skills spanning IT and electrical engineering. Led by the Toulouse Institute of Computer Science Research, the consortium also includes the LAPLACE laboratory and the FEMTO-ST Institute.

Eaton is providing invaluable expertise in both electrical and virtualized IT architectures, as well as server power consumption models. Additionally, we’re contributing to the standardization and promotion of key performance indicators and best practices for the use of renewable energy in data centers.

As Eaton’s Jerome Lecuivre comments, “We’re committed to improving quality of life and the environment through innovative power management technologies and services. The DATAZERO project will enable us to do just that. At Eaton, we believe in the power of a collaborative approach—sharing our experience with the rest of the world, leveraging relationships with international and local organizations, and networking with governments and businesses. Together, we can make a real difference to the environment, particularly by supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy”.

DATAZERO’s research is targeted at mid-sized data centers—up to 1000m2 and 1MW—where IT loads can be managed through either virtualization or cloud orchestration. The project will focus on three key areas:

  • Understanding the decision-making process around balancing and optimizing renewable electricity production (wind, solar, etc.) and storage (fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries, etc.).
  • Understanding the decision-making process around optimizing IT workloads (placement, scheduling, etc.) for the greatest possible resilience and most appropriate level of power consumption.
  • Developing a ‘negotiation loop’ that can match demands from both sides in real-time as well as planning ahead: altering energy production based on power demands from IT workloads, and workload power demands based on available energy production.

There are strong economic arguments to embrace DATAZERO’s research efforts. According to Beyond the Tipping Point—a recent study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance—by the mid-2020s, energy from new wind and solar installations will be cheaper than that from the average natural gas plant in Europe. Additionally, systemic grid energy loss is a compelling reason to position green energy production as close as possible to sites of intense power consumption, like data centers.

As Lecuivre continues, “While previous research has addressed partial energy provisioning from renewable sources and the optimization or relocation of virtualized IT loads, making data centers as green as possible remains a huge challenge. Currently, data centers still can’t ensure robust and reliable operations when powered by renewable energy sources. Building on past research efforts by the Green Data Net, the DATAZERO project is determined to create a practical and effective solution to this challenge. We believe the answer lies in better understanding both power generation and consumption, as well as the dynamics between them”.

The findings of the DATAZERO project will enable data centers that partially rely on renewable energy sources to optimize their power usage. The project will also create a bespoke ‘simulation toolkit’ to help organizations compare, test and tune different combinations of energy sources, equipment and scheduling policies—identifying the most appropriate solution based on their specific IT performance requirements.

DATAZERO’s results will ensure data centers continue to operate as cost-effectively and sustainably as possible. With 195 nations committed to keeping global temperature rises below 2°C following the 2015 Paris Agreement, the project’s findings will play a small, but crucial role in building a future powered by renewable energy.

Eaton’s products and solutions help customers use less energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do business more sustainably. Our contribution to the DATAZERO project will leave the world a little greener for future generations, while ensuring even more organizations can leverage cloud computing to work faster and smarter.

Discover more about the DATAZERO project here:

About Eaton

Eaton is a power management company with 2017 sales of $20.4 billion. We provide energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton has approximately 96,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. For more information, visit