Google this week revealed a “carbon-intelligent computing platform” which optimises compute tasks in its data centres for times when renewable energy is more plentiful. The tech giant says the new software will help it achieve its goal of ‘24×7 carbon free energy’.
Ana Radovanovic, Google’s technical lead for carbon-intelligent computing, outlined the new platform in a blog post on Thursday.
“We designed and deployed this first-of-its-kind system for our hyperscale (meaning very large) data centres to shift the timing of many compute tasks to when low-carbon power sources, like wind and solar, are most plentiful.”
Radovanovic writes that Google’s carbon-intelligent computing platform uses forecasts of the carbon intensity of local electricity grids and Google’s own data on the power resources its data centres require in that period to optimise compute tasks with times of low-carbon electricity supply.
According to Radovanovic, the pilot program shows the platform is working in a way that does not impact the performance of Google’s services.
Google has 21 data centres around the world, most in the US and Europe. The company is aiming to power them with 100 per cent renewable energy but still relies on non-renewable power for certain periods, buying a surplus of renewable energy to compensate and claim 100 per cent renewable energy use.
“Now, we’re working toward 24×7 carbon-free energy everywhere we have data centres, which deliver our products to billions of people around the world,” Radovanovic writes. “To achieve 24×7 carbon-free energy, our data centers need to work more closely with carbon-free energy sources like solar and wind.”
Currently the platform moves compute tasks at data centres to different times but Google is also exploring using the platform to shift workloads to different data centre locations.
“Our plan for the future is to shift load in both time and location to maximise the reduction in grid-level CO2 emissions. “