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Techbuyer Group launches Interact – a tool to address the reduced carbon agenda in ICT

Techbuyer Group launches Interact – a tool to address the reduced carbon agenda in ICT

Techbuyer Group, a global specialist in data centre hardware supply and configuration, announces the launch of a unique business focused on the delivery of a new and ground-breaking energy optimisation software tool, which allows the data centre industry to better address the climate change risk. The tool, which goes to market under the brand name “Interact”, is the culmination of a 2-year research and development partnership between Techbuyer and the University of East London.

Interact delivers previously unseen energy optimisation recommendations at component and system level for data centre server hardware, allowing stakeholders to reduce their carbon footprint, limit emissions, and achieve expenditure and operational cost savings. With the data centre sector responsible for a significant percentage of worldwide energy consumption – and expected to grow 500% globally by 2030 – carbon optimisation is essential.  

In simple terms, the Interact tool allows users to identify their optimal server configurations in terms of performance and energy efficiency as per individual requirements. The tool will recommend both new and refurbished options, whichever is best for client requirements. Cost savings can be enormous. A recent case study of 770 servers delivered potential savings of £200,000 in year 1 and £480,000 in years 2 and 3.

Carbon savings were over 460,000 kg of CO2 equivalent on the running costs, and much more than that on supply chain carbon. The use of refurbished machines avoids almost a metric ton of the emissions involved in mining, manufacture and transport of the new equivalent. Most of the climate change agenda focuses on use phase, but there is a growing appreciation of the importance of reuse as well.

The Interact tool began as an Innovate UK supported collaboration between Techbuyer and the University of East London. The academic supervisor, Rabih Bashroush, is a world leader in the field of energy efficiency for data centre IT hardware who recently featured on Channel 4 Dispatches.

Lead Developer and researcher, Nour Rteil carried out months of component level experiments that enabled the team to create a smart tool that analyses component and rack level server solutions to optimise cost, energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Her research has led to a paper co-authored by Nour, Rabih Bashroush, Techbuyer Group IT Director Rich Kenny and Techbuyer Sustainability Lead Astrid Wynne in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Transactions on Sustainable Computing. The peer-reviewed research outlined the effect of a declining Moore’s Law on data centre IT refresh.

“The IEEE paper represents peer-reviewed evidence that it makes perfect sense to refresh with properly configured refurbished servers for energy efficiency as well as reduced environmental footprint. This is the first time this has been done. The Interact tool builds on that with machine learning smart software to give the most effective energy and cost saving solution for IT refresh – be that through replacing existing infrastructure with new or refurbished server configurations – or through upgrading existing configurations instead ,” said Rich Kenny, Global IT Director for Techbuyer and ­Directory of Strategy for Interact.


Nour Rteil

Nour is the lead developer at Interact. She is also a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) associate at the University of East London and Techbuyer. She is working on studying and modelling the energy efficiency of servers in data centres. She previously worked as a Solution Developer at Dar Al Handasah and completed internships at Ericsson and the Technical University of Dresden while studying for her Computer Engineering degree. Nour has recently co-authored an IEEE paper on optimising server refresh cycles in 2020 and is interested in researching technologies that impact the energy consumption in data centres.


Astrid Wynne

Astrid is Head of Partnerships at Interact. She is also the Sustainability Lead at Techbuyer and represents the company’s Associate Partnership of the three-year Interreg funded CEDaCI (Circular Economy in the Data Centre Industry) project. She is on the board of Free ICT Europe, a non-profit that lobbies for the Right to Repair and secondary market in Europe as well as globally and also chairs the Sustainability Special Interest Group at the Data Centre Alliance. Astrid has contributed to Circular Economy and Green IT projects run by the University of Exeter in the UK and the Bordersteps Institute in Germany. She gave oral evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into electronic waste and the circular economy in 2020. She writes on digital sustainability for the industry press with a particular focus on materials usage and the embodied energy in IT.


Rich Kenny

Rich is the Director of Strategy at Interact. He is also the Group IT Director at Techbuyer where he leads technical, research and innovation partnerships. He has contributed to the UK’s Industrial Strategy through the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee and has been interviewed by the Leadership Council of Great Britain and Ireland. An Influencer for the Northern Intelligence forums, he gives advice and talks to businesses about innovation, training and sustainability in technology.