Giovanni Giuliani on DC4Cities project: 'adaptive' and 'visionary'

Graduated in Electronics Engineering with honors in 1982, Giovanni Giuliani is Master Architect at HP. In the last decade he has been involved in several research projects funded by European Commission in the area of Mobility, e-Collaboration and Cloud Computing. In 2005 he joined the HP Italy Innovation Center, where he’s been leading the Cloud Computing Initiative since 2009. Starting from 2013 he serves as Lead Architect of the HP LIFE platform (HP worldwide program offering a cloud based e-learning initiative for entrepreneurs).

Giovanni Giuliani is also the technical coordinator of DC4Cities EU FP7 project (follow-up project of FIT4Green and All4Green), which promotes adaptive data centers policies that affect the energy consumption through the interaction with lower level subsystems. These data centers would play a key role in the Smart Cities energy policies. Giuliani has also been the lecturer at the INNOVER-EAST Webinar on Energy Efficient Data Centers, which took place on April 20, 2015. We talked to him about the innovative features of the DC4Cities project and the reason why the European Commission considers it “visionary”.

Which are the most innovative characteristics of the DC4Cities project?  

DC4Cities Logo
DC4Cities Logo

I would highlight the “adaptive” concept, meaning that eco-friendly energy policies need to be capable of adapting the data center power consumption to the availability of renewable energy and at the same time being adapted to the requests received by the Smart City Energy Management Authority. And all of these without requiring any modification to the logistics of the DCs, and without impacting the quality of the services provided to their users. DC4Cities data centers control system will use an interface to retrieve information on renewable energy availability from the respective providers, and will receive energy constraint directives from the Smart City authorities and the Smart Grid. Then, based on these constraints, the eco-friendly data center controller will communicate with the energy adaptive sub-systems controlling applications and services to create and optimize energy plans and then enact them.

Which benefits will DC4Cities bring to society?  

There are huge expectations on Smart Cities in offering high levels of services to the citizens and to optimize their processes. All this requires IT, and therefore data centers able to run at the highest levels of renewable energy sources to comply with Smart City environmental goals. This is the great challenge of the DC4Cities project. Optimizing data center energy use, energy consumption will decrease and therefore emissions reduction. Shifting IT tasks to the highest renewable energy availability periods will also have an important impact while integrating data centers in Smart Cities. Our goal is to enhance the integration of data centers into a city’s infrastructure in an eco-friendly manner, so that each process runs on a maximum of renewable power and to find out how this can work for any city on the planet.

National experts appointed by the European Commission in the ICT and energy field have qualified DC4Cities project as “visionary”. In particular, they have stressed its disruptive character, having indeed great mind-term impact for the European cities of the future. Which are the reasons to be considered visionary?

As EU Commission experts have stated, although it is early to estimate the final contribution of the project to the state-of-the art, an impact can be foreseen in the areas of new metrics and in the shifting of the IT workload to periods of high renewable energy availability. The full development of the DC4Cities methodology requires the presence of Smart Cities and Smart Energy grids, which are currently not available everywhere to a reasonable level. So taken into account the current status of data centers, Smart Cities and Smart Energy grids, its approach is, certainly, visionary.