Data centers are one of the most valuable assets in the modern economy. They range from dedicated spaces used to house computer systems for small and medium-sized businesses to large enterprise data centers organized with aisles of server racks and extensive cooling and ventilation systems.
The rise of digital content, big data, eCommerce, and internet traffic has led to data centers becoming fast-growing consumers of electricity in developed countries.
With more businesses going online and the demand for data and bandwidth continually growing, environmental groups say more should be done to reduce data centers’ carbon footprint.
Data centers account for 3% of global energy consumption and contribute 0.3% of global CO2 emissions. Amazon, Facebook, and Google are known for housing large server farms and plan to eliminate their carbon footprint within the next decade.
Recent estimates suggest that big data centers can cut their carbon emissions by 80% with more efficient management practices. Because most data centers could benefit from making changes in the way they use energy, we’ve detailed some simple ways you can start to monitor and reduce your data center’s carbon emissions.
How to Reduce Carbon Footprint
Data centers are on the radar of environmental groups because of their increasing global energy consumption levels and contributions to carbon emissions.
From a carbon emissions perspective, the operation of large data centers is not the problem in and of itself. Instead, the problem is that these centers are managed inefficiently.
They use considerable energy and typically require cooling systems to reduce heat. Further, most data centers rely on non-renewable energy sources powered by coal, oil, and gas.
The most practical and easily-implemented ways to start reducing your center’s carbon footprint include:
Analyze Performance and Power Usage Trends
Implementing an efficient power management plan starts with analyzing the performance of your data center and current power usage across all equipment. Start by monitoring power usage patterns and trends to identify areas that require improvement.
Once you locate areas of inefficiency, you can move to reconfigure, upgrade, and even completely remove equipment that increases overall power usage and cost.
Use DCIM Tools
Datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) tools can help you reduce energy consumption by analyzing data center design, system management functions, asset discovery, energy management, and capacity planning. These functions provide a holistic view of your data center.
Employ Natural Cooling
Sweden and other Nordic countries are attractive locations for large data centers due to their low ambient temperatures and cheap electricity prices. Cooling equipment is the main contributor to high-level energy consumption. Data centers can immediately benefit from the free cooling offered by natural processes.
In comparison to air conditioning and powered refrigeration, access to colder outside air and water temperatures, as well as the use of solar panels and even wind energy, can help your data center reduce overall electricity costs.
Nordic countries report an average data center PUE value of 1.71, thanks to the natural advantage of colder climates. Even within this region, more can be done to improve. The most efficient data centers report values below 1.2.
Choosing energy-efficient cooling technologies, using natural cooling, and accessing other forms of renewable energy can go a long way toward reducing your carbon footprint.
Address Server Inefficiencies
Network operators can reduce energy consumption by addressing server inefficiencies. It is estimated that up to 30 percent of servers run when not required. Data centers may not know how many of their servers are running at zero capacity.
Consolidating multiple servers within a single computer platform can cut overall power consumption levels. Using server virtualization, consolidation, and better software controls can reduce a data center’s overall carbon emissions by 80%.
Contact AWNIX Today
Data centers have come under intense scrutiny recently from many environmental groups due to their increasing contribution to carbon emissions. Many large data centers have moved to set net-zero standards for their carbon footprint in the near future.
Multiple strategies exist that can help organizations follow suit and reduce their energy consumption levels. Once your data center makes adjustments to become more energy-efficient, ongoing reviews of your IT requirements and services will allow you to continually make adjustments where necessary.
Anwix is a leading provider of cloud management services and hybrid cloud solutions for business applications. We recommend quarterly and annual reviews of efficiency in comparison to previous years to ensure you meet current and future goals.
If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your data center’s carbon footprint or our other professional services, contact us today!