Data centers have an ethical responsibility to be change agents and play a critical role in enacting policies that reduce the environmental impact of data storage.
FREMONT, CA: Sustainability takes on a more intense and inventive approach for the data center business, responsible for at least 1 percent of global energy consumption. Data centers, like businesses, have a need to develop and promote more sustainable choices and solutions due to the sheer size and scope of their operations. Moreover, if we consider these hubs to be the epicenter of connectivity, data storage, and processing, as well as a range of business-critical applications, it’s only natural to assume that data storage and internet usage will continue to rise in the coming years.
It could even be claimed that data centers have an ethical responsibility to be change agents and play a critical role in enacting policies that reduce the environmental impact of data storage. Some companies have already pledged to decrease their environmental footprint and invest in more sustainable energy solutions as part of their long-term green plan. Many initiatives are being taken to reduce data center energy usage, but if consumption is to be kept to a minimum, this process will need to be accelerated, especially when considering that data usage grew by 47 percent in the first quarter of 2020, during the first COVID-19 lockout. Data compression’s key benefit is that compressed files take less time to transfer and use less network bandwidth. Less storage capacity is required as file size, data transmission time, and communication bandwidth are reduced, resulting in lower energy usage, higher productivity, and significant cost savings.
Immersion cooling, on the other hand, is a more realistic approach to tackling energy inefficiency issues. The procedure involves immersing computer components or entire servers in a dielectric liquid that allows for better heat transmission than air. 4D recently adopted this technique, installing a very energy-efficient “pod” at its Gatwick location that utilizes immersion cooling technology. The “pod” employs a biodegradable dielectric fluid with half the density of water and heat exchangers to keep IT equipment cool. Intercoolers and water are utilized to keep the fluid cool, and an internal heat exchanger takes heat from the fluid and redistributes it into chill water, which is then pumped out and cooled down again in 4D’s adiabatic cooling towers, a method similar to that used in the automobile sector.
One option to make data centers more environmentally friendly is to use renewable energy sources. Because electricity is the primary source for conducting daily operations, the environmental impact of a single data center will be primarily decided by where it gets its electricity. This means that, depending on their resources and location, data centers may be able to design a more ecologically friendly system, such as using wind, solar, or even tidal energy.
By embracing sustainability, data centers have a real chance to impact change. Committing to a green agenda is a positive step for any organization, but to be sustainable, business owners must guarantee that energy efficiency is at the forefront of every facet of how a data center is run. Business owners can manage their data centers smartly and cleanly by finding the most sustainable materials and technology for developing and managing these energy-intensive hubs, ensuring that their impact on the environment is minimized as data consumption continues to grow.