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Going Green: How Data Centers are shifting their Focus on Sustainability?

By Cristiana , in Technology , at January 30, 2021 Tags: , ,

Across the world, organizations are facing unprecedented pressure to minimize the carbon footprint of their operations. Data centers, being energy hogs, are one of the key targets. As per a recent study, data centers consume close to 3% of the electricity generated on the planet. They also account for approximately 2% of the greenhouse emissions. This share will only go up in the coming years as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and similar technologies result in the proliferation of digital devices, all of which will invariably be powered through data centers. As these types of problems and the need for its solutions arise, having a degree in online MBA in Sustainability can give you a competitive advantage, as companies tend to look for professionals with a background in sustainability management to help combat this global environmental issue.

In this blog, we will throw light on how data centers across the world are shifting their focus on sustainability. So, let’s dive in.

1) Innovative Cooling Techniques

Data centers in India and outside generate massive amounts of heat, as a result of which they require constant cooling. The more powerful a data center is, the more cooling it requires. Conventional cooling methods involve the usage of air or water-cooled chillers to produce cool air that circulates among servers. Most of these chillers rely on power-intensive compressors to function.

To tackle this issue, many data center facilities have begun implementing energy-efficient cooling techniques (e.g. liquid cooling) that can save tons of energy. For instance, Google is using seawater for cooling in one of its Finland-based data centers.

Along similar lines, Facebook’s data center facility in Sweden makes use of evaporative cooling, a power-efficient approach that utilizes outside chilly air to bring down server temperature.

2) AI to Reduce Energy Consumption

Of late, data center facilities are relying on AI-ML to trim down excessive energy consumption. AI-based systems automate the routine tasks involved in maintaining and monitoring data center servers. Predictive analytics powered by AI identifies the anomalies in the functioning of equipment e.g. performance issues way before they can have an effect on operations. As a result, issues can be diagnosed and corrected well in time.

AI-powered sensors collect data from equipment in the form of temperature and humidity statistics. This data can be used to train neural networks that can optimize the performance of data center services in India. They can also help predict future events such as a surge in demand or temperature changes. As a result, the equipment functions within its operational constraints and consumes minimal energy.

3) Renewable Sources of Power

Organizations running data centers are adopting renewable energy strategies to fulfill their power needs. They are increasingly relying on geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind energy, and so on.

Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon are turning to solar energy to fuel their operations. While Google has announced a new solar-powered facility in Nevada, Microsoft has pledged to be 100% carbon-negative by 2030-removing more carbon from the environment than what it emits. It plans to make all its data centers 100% renewable by 2025.

Organizations are building energy-efficient data center facilities in Nordic countries including Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Most of these run on hydroelectric or wind energy.

4) Recycling Solutions

Data centers are coming up with a range of recycling strategies to enhance their sustainability quotient. Google’s data center in Hamina, Finland recycles 100% of the equipment it replaces. Citigroup data center in Frankfurt, Germany saves tons of water by making use of reverse osmosis to treat water in its cooling plant, saving almost 50 million liters of water annually.

Throughout Europe, data centers are capturing the heat generated from their servers and selling it to municipalities; the latter is using the same for indoor heating. If untapped, this heat would have gone to waste.

Green Data Centers: Need of the Present Time

As climate change continues to take a toll on the planet, the demand for clean, green data centers will keep growing. Its high time data center operators switch to sustainable solutions, creating a win-win situation for all the stakeholders involved.


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