Green data: Survival of the sustainable

Pit an environmentally-friendly (green) business or household against one that can’t tell the difference between recycling and general waste – who are you going to back when it comes to winning the race for sustainability?

With the government on board to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK to almost zero by 2050, those who don’t take responsibility will be left behind.

The same responsibilities apply in the datacentre world. When it comes to fitting out and operating a facility, businesses are racing one another to turn their data ‘green’ and make their facilities as sustainable as possible. Let’s take a closer look at which trends are pushing environmentally responsible datacentres over the finish line:

Cool data, hot competition

The first step to improving sustainability is reducing the amount of electricity required to operate a datacentre. According to the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), 5% of total global energy usage is by electronics – this number will grow to at least 40% by 2030 unless companies make major advances in lowering electricity consumption. Additionally, datacentre cooling is one of the main rising energy costs, along with the demand for datacentre capacity.

Developing in-house water-cooling systems is one way to address these challenges. For example, servers that use a water element to cool themselves, rather than electricity, inevitably reduce energy consumption and optimise air flows. This is because the water-cooling systems are built into racks with integrated heat exchangers and power distribution units and users need less than 10% overhead energy on top of server energy. A typical datacentre, in contrast, needs between 40-100% more.

Cloud migration service providers allow corporations to not only reduce the cost of operations and develop new uses, but also to reduce their environmental footprint compared to their legacy and generally less efficient facilities. Aggregating cloud computing needs through large hyperscale cloud service providers becomes part of the answer to control the risk mentioned above. 

Maintaining your stride towards an efficient datacentre

The global cloud datacentre traffic was 6 zettabytes (ZB) in 2016, and it is now projected to reach 19.5 ZB per year by 2021. So, wherever possible, datacentre providers should optimise the use of server resources across their customer base. This can be achieved via virtualisation and the re-use or recycling of servers, as well as using an integrated industrial model to build systems that are more energy efficient.

In addition, dedicated research teams can work alongside production to ensure the functionality of a product and assess safety requirements before they are manufactured. Innovation that consists of improving efficiency with fewer resources ultimately respects continuous renewal, through the development of agility and the creation of sustainable solutions. Hence, providing the best services for customers.

Futureproof and don’t look back

The foundations are in place and official targets are set. It’s imperative that the right steps are taken to keep sustainability at the forefront. Those who utilise green energy will be a step ahead in reducing climate change and leading by example, to ultimately grow their datacentre to have a sustainable future.

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