Civo and heata partner to deliver more sustainable future for cloud computing

Civo customers’ cloud compute workloads will be able to run on the heata network, with waste heat re-used to provide free hot water for UK households.

Civo, the world’s first pure play cloud-native service provider powered only by Kubernetes, is launching a new pilot scheme with heata, the groundbreaking green distributed compute network. Going forward, Civo customers will be given the option to trial running cloud workloads on heata. The heata compute network re-uses the waste heat generated from processing cloud compute workloads to heat water in homes across the UK. As part of this fast-growing network, Civo customers will be able to further reduce the carbon footprint of their cloud operations and, in the process, help provide those in fuel poverty with free hot water.

Backed by investment from British Gas, Innovate UK, and now Civo, sustainability is at the heart of the heata network. The carbon emissions from data servers that enable cloud computing are a core obstacle to tackling the climate crisis: by 2030 data centres are projected to generate 1.8 gigatonnes of CO2 and use 8% of global electricity. A key issue with data centres is ‘waste’ heat. Currently, 20-60% of a data centre’s energy is spent on air conditioning, especially focused on removing waste heat from processors.

Heata puts that ‘waste’ heat to good use. The heata network is made up of powerful compute servers (just 36cm by 28cm in size) installed on domestic hot water cylinders in people’s homes around the UK, companies pay to run and process their offline batch cloud compute workloads (high-volume, repetitive data jobs that don’t require real-time processing) from these servers. All waste heat from processing is then used to heat the water in the cylinder – transferred via heata’s patented thermal bridge technology. It works alongside existing heating systems, which will kick in to provide hot water if the heata unit stops working.

Installation is quick, simple, and, perhaps most importantly, has no hidden implications for the host; the heata unit has been designed to work alongside the warranty of the cylinders and has been tested in collaboration with British Gas. Each unit saves 1 tonne of carbon per year and uses 56% less electricity vs a typical data centre plus hot water heating.

Both Civo and heata have a shared commitment to driving innovation in the open-source community. They are both committed to finding sustainable solutions to ensure cloud-native technology plays its part in supporting action on climate change. Heata’s network is built on Kubernetes, with the heata workloads deployed, managed, and secured to an enterprise-grade using SUSE Rancher. This open-source approach enables the heata network to rapidly identify and allocate workloads to heata units that are available for work.

The need for the heata network is greater than ever. As the UK enters the winter period, millions of people are struggling to keep up with rising fuel costs and heat the water in their homes as the cold sets in. With more than 4 million households already estimated to be living in fuel poverty, the onus is on organisations to step up, provide innovative solutions, and make a difference. The cutting-edge heata technology can produce up to 4.8kWh per day – which at expected utilisation levels could provide 80% of an average UK household’s hot water energy consumption – channelling this into free hot water for the host at no extra cost.

Mark Boost, CEO of Civo, said: “Sustainability is something that’s always been front of mind at Civo, and working with heata to put the inefficiencies of data centres to good use has been the perfect next step for our sustainability mission. Investing in these types of solutions that not only cut carbon emissions but give back to the community, and help those in need, is the future of cloud computing. Heata’s edge network also offers a window into the future of IT infrastructure, placing processing as close as possible to user need, supporting next-generation applications that rely on low-latency connectivity. As we strive toward a carbon-neutral future, we hope to deepen our partnership with heata, leading the way in building a greener, more sustainable world where cloud computing is the solution when fighting climate change – not the problem.

Chris Jordan, Co-founder and CTO of heata: “At a very basic level, why waste heat? Our mission is to unlock the value of the waste heat from compute, turning a compute problem into a climate and social benefit. Working with partners like Civo is critical as we look to extend our network, building trust and inspiring more organisations to run their compute workloads in a more sustainable way. Ultimately, we’re working towards a future where it's considered irresponsible to waste this heat. This change of mindset, as has occurred with attitudes to recycling over the last few decades, will happen; once we show it can be done. In doing so helping organisations decarbonise their compute, landlords deliver more energy efficient homes, and households benefit from free hot water. At a time of soaring energy prices, I am particularly committed to being the bridge between the world of tech and areas like social housing where the need for solutions to the deepening cost of living crisis is being felt most acutely.”


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