The adoption of digital technology to digitally revolutionize business processes and services is well underway. Spending on this global digital transformation is projected to reach $3.4 trillion by 2026.
The backbone of our global information infrastructure is the modern data centers, which are, right or wrong, under increased scrutiny for their soaring power and water use, required for the ever-increasing data processing and storage demands. It’s no surprise that operators are pushing to proactivity adopt carbon footprint-reducing initiatives as part of larger ESG plans. Half of the struggle is understanding what the current state of operation truly is when it comes to developing measures to increase efficiency. This often includes real-time and historical reporting and monitoring, trend quantification of usage metrics, and spending vs perceived spending.
In 2022 data centers consumed 240-340 TWh1, or 1-1.3% of global final electricity demand. Datacenter servers, cooling systems, electricity, water, and other infrastructure equipment are responsible for 2% of the overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Embracing sustainable practices in data center operations not only helps reduce the environmental impact but also safeguards against potential legal and reputational repercussions arising from violations of stringent (and evolving) global environmental regulations. As a result, adhering to sustainable data center practices is now considered both a moral obligation and a legal necessity.
Data center operators can enhance sustainability and foster stakeholder loyalty through various strategies:
1. Monitoring Sustainable Operations: Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)
The key to achieving a lower PUE, involves utilizing critical metrics for monitoring and improving sustainability. Interestingly, data centers already have a significant amount of data at their fingertips about operational metrics, but they are often not used or correlated to make an impact. Shifting to renewable energy sources like solar or wind power further minimizes environmental impact.
2. Analyzing Historical Data for Efficiency
Analyzing historical data helps identify usage patterns, anomalies, and trends. This, in turn, optimizes resource allocation, improves efficiency, and facilitates well-informed business decisions regarding scaling or upgrades. Predictive analytics, as discussed in a previous blog, aids in planning for future resource needs.
3. Balancing Spending and Perception
Data center sustainability goes beyond reducing environmental impact; it also lowers operational costs for financially prudent decisions. Aligning with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fosters positive public perception and loyalty from customers, investors, and stakeholders who value environmentally responsible businesses.
4. Leveraging Technological Innovations
Evolving data center technology offers sustainability opportunities, including energy-efficient hardware and advanced cooling systems. Collaborative efforts, such as The Green Grid initiative and industry partnerships, enable the sharing of standardized sustainability practices.
5. Embracing Sustainability Reporting
Modern data centers must prioritize sustainability reporting in our digital infrastructure-dependent world. This involves monitoring and quantifying usage metrics, staying updated on industry trends, and understanding spending dynamics. These are critical steps to establish greener operations that align with long-term business success in a rapidly changing global environment.
Learn how data center operators utilize market-leading software for actionable, cost-effective business decisions.