The CATALYST project was born at the crossroad of modern IT and energy systems, at an era when cloud and web technologies are both a bless and a curse. Data Centres (DCs) appear in the middle of the interplay between the merits of the connected cognitive intelligent world and the cautiousness of the sustainability drivers related to both environmental, operational and financial constraints. Indeed, the ever more prominent effects of the climatic change, such as disastrous fires (e.g., the recent Amazon rainforest fires), increasing events of floods, tornados, and earthquakes worldwide, indicate that there is no opportunity for squeezing the planet resources anymore. In any case, the increasing operational costs of energy, arising from increased internet traffic, significantly constrain the profit margin of the DC business.
The turn to green energy sources and rationalized/more efficient management of the DC energy assets is the key to not only removing the footprint of DCs, but also providing excess energy budgets, thus creating additional sources of revenue for DC Managers/Owners.
CATALYST envisions green and efficient energy management of DC resources, implementing the innovative follow-the-energy approach and enabling profits related to reduced energy usage, exploitation of the available renewable energy.
The project is developing a novel Framework that will enable Data Centers to assess different types of flexibility (electricity, heat and IT workload) and to trade this flexibility in a multi-commodity marketplace accessible also to other flexibility prosumers. The CATALYST Framework consists of three interacting sub-systems:
- CATALYST Flexchange, working on DC-side, that allow data centers to assess their thermal, electric and IT workload flexibility that can be provided to other stakeholders;
- CATALYST DC FlexManager, where DC centers and many other flexibility prosumers can trade their offers;
- CATALYST IT Federator, responsible for orchestrating the workload relocation among federated DCs.
In more details, the figure below represents the CATALYST DC FlexManager architecture whose software components allow
- to interface the existing monitoring and control infrastructure of the DC, in order to collect monitoring data and send commands to the equipment
- to store static and dynamic data of the DC for further processing
- predict heat, electricity and IT workload flexibility and optimally manage these resources
- compute metrics to measure the energy efficiency of the DC
- renegotiate Service Level Agreement with customers when migration of IT workload affects the level of service
- send or accept IT workloads by implementing the “follow the energy” paradigm
- formulate flexibility bids and offers to be submitted to the marketplace
The CATALYST Federator is the server-side of the software necessary to track, allocate and migrate IT workload among federated DCs, that run the client-side of the same software.
The CATALYST Flexchange is a multi-commodity marketplace provided as service (MaaS: Market as a Service) able to orchestrate heat, electricity and IT workload market sessions. The Market Operator can configure and instantiate one or more marketplaces whose sessions are cleared by considering potential constraints that market participants can apply to their actions (bids and offers).
How is Marketplace-as-a-Service realized in CATALYST?
The Marketplace-as-a-Service concept in CATALYST allows automated, dynamically configured deployment and operation of CATALYST Marketplace instances. The approach is flexible enough to allow the instantiation, deletion and general administration of single Marketplace variants within CATALYST Marketplace Deployments.
Within MaaS, a CATALYST Marketplace Deployment is considered as the “umbrella” under which 1 to 4 different Marketplace variants can be accommodated: Electricity, Heat, Flexibility and/or IT Load Marketplace. A single CATALYST Marketplace Deployment operates in local context, e.g. at city level and allows exploitation of flexibility close to its source.
A single Marketplace Deployment can be accessed by
- The Marketplace Operator, performing administration services over all variants for their Deployment
- Marketplace Participants, i.e. big prosumers of energy as DCs are
- The DSO (only for the Electricity and Flexibility variants)
- The Heat Grid Operator (only for the Heat Marketplace)