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The IT Pro Podcast: Making data centres green again

How can data centre operators help lessen their impact on climate change?

The IT Pro Podcast: Making data centres green again

Climate change is one of the greatest threats that humanity faces, and it’s important for each of us to do what we can in fighting its impact. However, while pledging to use our cars less and turn off our appliances overnight is all very well, organisations and industries also need to enact policies to limit and manage their own carbon footprints.

One of the biggest sources of energy consumption within the modern business world is data centres, estimated to contribute as much as the global air travel industry in terms of carbon emissions. Ongoing efforts are being made to reduce the environmental impact of data centres, though, and there are a number of ways in which organisations can ensure their data centres are as green as possible. 

We’re joined this week by Matt Pullen, executive vice president and managing director of data centre operator CyrusOne, to discuss some of these initiatives, as well as some top tips for reducing your data centre’s carbon footprint. 

Highlights

“what we're finding is that as workloads move away from on premise data centres to big cloud data centres, those big cloud data centres are at such a scale, and they're using modern technology, whereby PUEs are falling and falling with, on average, the UK recording that big commercial data centres' PUEs probably down at 1.7.”

“The focus was on PUE, but, of course, to bring PUEs down, quite a lot of new cooling technology emerged. Indirect adiabatic cooling technology for example, which basically uses water mist to make the cooling process more efficient, and therefore bring the PUE down. Now, the problem with that is water is such a scarce commodity. And, in parallel, more standard cooling technologies have been emerging, closed-loop chilled water systems, for example, that don't result in the net use of water.”

“At the moment, what we're seeing is an aggregation of large data centres in urban and suburban areas to basically support big GDP clusters. And because of latency, they have to be there. We're also seeing very large data centres in remote locations where latency is not such an issue. As the digital world moves forward, driverless cars etc, we are going to see a need for more edge data centres - i.e. data centres closer to the action on a smaller scale. And we've just got to make sure that technology has evolved so that those small data centres are not inefficient.”

Read the full transcript here.

Footnotes

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