As data centres’ physical infrastructure and demand grow, their carbon footprint needs to be smaller. Companies must identify and implement sustainable practices such as green data centre regulation to ensure their data centres are energy efficient.
The rising growth of data & the demand for public cloud offerings has contributed to several new large data centres being constructed globally. The onset of Covid-19 has coerced several companies to look for options to ensure business continuity, leading to data centres rising faster than ever.
Cloud computing took centre stage, & cloud service providers like AWS, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Alibaba earned billions of dollars in revenue. In 2020,
Microsoft’s commercial cloud business exceeded $50 billion in revenue. Amazon creator & CEO Jeff Bezos shared during the 1st quarter 2021 result announcement that AWS has enhanced a $54 billion annual sales run rate business, increasing 32% yearly.
Importance of Data Centers
In the past years, the data centre’s need has grown tremendously. Several benefits of migrating business to data centres such as:
- Cost savings.
- Up-to-date security measures.
- Power and utilities consumption monitoring and others.
For example, public cloud services provide users entrance to cloud resources at a minimal subscription fee. The customer needs to move his applications to the public cloud without facing any upfront initial IT Infrastructure price.
Data Centers allow people to achieve high availability as it supports clustering of hardware infrastructure & failover mechanisms. Server clusters guarantee uninterrupted business continuity even when a server fails since it would offload the work onto another standby server.
Why did Green Data Centers come to the spotlight?
The huge amount of data being created has driven the need for companies to house their business-critical workloads and applications within data centres. According to the World Economic Forum, the data evaluated at the beginning of 2020 was around 44 zettabytes. By 2025 however, nearly 463 exabytes of data will be made daily across the globe. For context, a smartphone comes with 64GB of built-in storage, which is 0.0000000064 of an exabyte. One exabyte of video call data can get extracted from the video call lasting 2,37,832 years.
Data centre investment is growing, & the expansion of the public cloud catalyses the need to have large data centres worldwide. Large businesses have recently announced some of their biggest investments into green data centre regulation, as given in the image below:
How will EU Green Data Center Regulation Affect your Business?
Good for the Planet and Business.
Implementing green practices in your data centre benefits the planet and is also beneficial for business. According to a report by AFCOM’s 2018 State of the Data Center Industry, nearly 42% of respondents plan to deploy renewable energy over the upcoming year.
And 60% of those respondents estimated that this latest renewable energy source would help lower the overall ROI of their data centre while assisting them in achieving green initiatives. Using less non-renewable resources ways reduces overall utility expenditure.
Lower Price while Sustaining Consistent Performance.
Lowering energy usage doesn’t have to indicate compromising power efficiency. Renewable energy is a reliable power source that can help keep Power Usage Efficiency (PUEs) low. A lower PUE means power is being used more efficiently, ultimately lowering
operating costs. In 2018, Google touted an average PUE of 11.2 across all their data centres running on 100% renewable energy. For instance, a PUE of 1 is considered perfect.
Improve Brand Image & Customer Loyalty.
Consumers are becoming more aware & interested in social & environmental issues. The company’s values are equally important to its responsible business practices. In the U.S., 80% of consumers care about the use of renewable energy.
According to a survey organised by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Sustainability is no longer seen as a nice-to-have initiative. Instead, it’s becoming a necessary corporate pillar for thriving in the competitive landscape and gaining consumers’ trust and loyalty.
According to Deloitte, “energy management has become table stakes for competitiveness.”
How to select a Green Data Center for your Business?
While selecting the sustainability needs for a Green data centre design, an enterprise/business should have the following considerations:
- The renewable energy resources available to the enterprise to power its hardware.
- The amount of electrical above the facility needs to support the enterprise’s IT load.
- The data centre’s location, climate trends, and available renewable power play into sustainability.
- The facility, beyond electrical efficiency, employs other sustainable applications.
Requirements for a Sustainable or Green Data Center design
Green Data Centers design is a new frontier, with several key players announcing large-scale projects. Fortunately, many programs are in place to promote collective sustainability. Here is a list of programs you should look for while selecting a Green data centre provider.
Energy Star Certification
The Energy Star is a joint Environmental Protection Agency & Department of Energy program. It helps to identify & promote energy efficiency in products, homes, and buildings. Find out the Energy Star Certification/Energy Star Certified label.
Green Power Partnership
Another voluntary EPA program Green Power Partnership is designed to raise renewable electricity consumption in the United States and utilise “green power” to decrease the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Partners commit to using green power for all, or a portion, of their annual electricity consumption.”
The certification program, LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is for buildings and communities that guide their design, construction, operations, & maintenance toward sustainability. The U.S. Green Building Council operates it.
Also, look for green certifications like BREEAM, Green Globes, BCA Green Mark, & CEEDA.
Better Buildings Challenge
The Better Buildings Challenge represents the joint effort of hundreds of public & private sector organisations to develop and share strategies addressing the energy usage dilemma. Government agencies target a cumulative 40% reduction in CO2 gas emissions by 2025. More than 300 private sector consumers have enrolled in the program’s 4.2 billion square feet of building space.
Data centres are here to stay. With the growth of technologies like IoT, ML/AI, 5G, edge computing, and others, the amount of data generated will continue to grow, pushing the need for data centres.
Implementing energy savings strategies in the EU Green Data Center Regulation will soon be a huge must for companies. Moreover, integrating innovative technologies, including AI & ML, into green data centre initiatives will ensure ROI± and a safer environment.
With several companies ensuring Net zero or carbon neutrality in another 20 to 30 years (such as Amazon and Microsoft), going green is becoming more of a necessity and less of a suggestion.