5 Steps to Data Center Sustainability

AKCPArticles, Blog

sustainable data center

For quite some time, the impact of data centers on the environment has become a leading issue. Data center sustainability has thus become an important subject. Not only from an environmental impact point of view, but from a operational overhead perspective as well. This has made data center designers, administrators and stake holders keener on pursuing the importance of using renewable energy to power digital infrastructure.

The fast expansion of the cloud, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, brought more attention to the data center industry’s role in retooling the economy for a more sustainable future. Now, the industry will have to embrace sustainability in these 5 steps as the start of their commitment.

1. Create a Bold and Workable Plan

A good strategy is a foundation for everything else. Make one with specific goals and actions that are organized. Also, the internal knowledge and resources must be aligned
To justify and fund initiatives, create a business case, which will need senior sponsorship and leadership and, a plan for putting a price on carbon, such as carbon pricing or CO2 emission limitations.
True data center sustainability is not as difficult to achieve as it may appear. In many ways, developing a complete approach pushes operators to focus on a lot of factors. This covers the data center’s architecture, location, power supply, and operational energy management methods.
 
There are three important components to examine this:
 
First, they must find a partner with the expertise to assist them in taking sustainable action. Second, assets must be evaluated to determine how they can maximize the efficiency of their entire portfolio. Lastly, they must consider new data center designs and concepts that meet sustainability goals. Whether for new projects or for repurposing existing ones.
 
For many, these three concepts are not new or breakthrough ideas. But these concepts are principles that help establish data center sustainability plans to overcome the climate challenge. The key steps are:
  1. Define success for your company and empower your employees to assist you in achieving it.
  2. Set goals, for improvements wherever feasible – 1% each year for 25 years will have a major influence on a worldwide business.
  3. Install programs and evaluate where you can make changes on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
  4. Monitor, manage and share the lessons you’ve learned to keep your results going.

2. Install Energy-Efficient Designs

As an industry, data centers have reduced energy losses by 80%. But the point of diminishing returns with our data center designs is approaching. Invest in technologies that increase energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions. Like SF6-Free switchgear and liquid cooling that can potentially cut the energy consumption by 15%.

efficient-designs

Photo Credit: electrical-engineering-portal.com

Circular design must also be prioritized. This can help to reduce size and weight, and serviceability. Thus, will deliver fewer raw materials, less land usage, lower transportation emissions, and so on.

When it comes to physical infrastructure equipment, rightsizing is the best technique for maximizing savings and lowering energy usage. In most data centers, fixed losses account for a considerable part of electricity usage. The energy cost of these constant losses in lightly loaded data centers might actually exceed the cost of the IT load. If the data center’s energy infrastructure is overbuilt, these fixed losses constitute an excessively large portion of the overall electrical demand. Matching the cooling load tot he IT load without oversizing increases efficiency and reduces these fixed losses.

3. Improve Operational Efficiency

Operations must be efficient and long-term. There has been a lot of effort in making this possible. Data collected from systems give visibility, measure energy use, and assess performance. Predictive maintenance services help drive operational efficiency and reliability. All the while maximizing lifespan through connected services.

DCIM Software and analytics are utilized to monitor and report through dashboards. This assists in decision-making and track sustainability progress. We also need to start using resource dashboards to keep track of our carbon footprint. After all, if you don’t measure it, you won’t be able to control it.

organize cabling

Photo Credit: miro.medium.com

Organize Cabling
Data centers use a lot of cables and must manage all that cabling to make sure it goes to the proper ports. Unstructured, messy, unorganized cables can be dangerous for even the smallest data centers. Cabling used in scalable infrastructure must be highly structured and organized.
Cycle Equipment
The typical lifecycle of a server is about three to five years. But due to data center increased standard for virtualization, the need to replace older, less efficient servers is also at a peak
 
Data centers don’t just need to think about cycling their servers. The PDUs, air handlers, and UPS all have an expected lifespan as well.
Optimize Data Floor Space
Inefficient deployments can lead to too much heat being generated. Data centers need to be aware of how every piece of equipment interacts with others to optimize the environment. The layout of the data floor can be subject to a lot of change, especially in a colocation facility. Effective aisle containment should be considered.
 
Datacenter standards should approach every deployment with an eye toward efficiency and performance. DCIM software can help to ensure that every colocation customer is getting the most efficient deployment possible. While also maintaining the overall health of the data center’s infrastructure.
Deploy DCIM Tools

Without a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software is like trying to sail a boat in complete darkness. Even minor problems in the data center, if not monitored, can take the facility by surprise. Data centers need to be managed with an effective DCIM platform according to experts.

DCIM gives a comprehensive insight into the IT infrastructure of the facility. Power consumption, cooling requirements, and traffic demands may be monitored in real-time by data center operators. IT support tickets may be addressed with a DCIM platform. Then customers can convey their requirements without having to go through a lengthy request procedure.

Practice Good Data Hygiene

Many people no longer consider storage capacity since storage technology has evolved so far and so fast. Companies have more than enough room to store the large amounts of data that their networks and the internet of things (IoT) generate.

Data management may cost up to $3 trillion globally by 2020 if left unmanaged. Data hygiene may help their clients better manage their ROT data. Since computer technology requires less power and cooling, reducing the IT infrastructure has a favorable impact on data center standards. It also allows distributing more storage and other resources.

4. Use Renewable Energy

There are three primary ways to do this: credit, on-site construction, and off-site construction. Renewable energy credits are a quick and easy method to reduce your carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy. You can install renewable energy sources on-site, such as solar panels for easy on-site generation and distribution.
The facility may either use the renewable energy it produces or connect to the grid. Offsite generation is typically used to support renewable energy projects with longer-term contracts. The most popular type of contract is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
On-site power is more attractive for most data center businesses than buying power from your local electric utility. Large on-site generation facilities that use natural gas turbines can have capacities of several hundred megawatts. On-site energy can be used both in the power generation mode only, or combined heat and power mode.
Local governments have the most direct access to renewable energy through on-site power generating. Aside from the overall advantages, on-site projects also reduce financial risks and increase power quality and supply dependability.

5. Decarbonize your Supply Chain

This may be your most difficult task. Your carbon footprint includes the supply chain of your vendors. As a result, it makes excellent economic sense to work with vendors who support the circular economy and incorporate circularity into their goods.
Vendors must be honest about their goods’ environmental effects. They should provide a Product Environmental Profile (PEP) or an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) that includes extensive information about their products. Although decarbonizing is a complicated issue, if procedures are done right, they will be able to generate the necessary paperwork.

Monitoring Data Centers with AKCP

AKCP monitoring solutions allow you to gain detailed insights into your data center facility’s environmental and power parameters. Checking for hotspots, differential air pressure, and airflow around your data center. Ensure that real-life measurements match predicted cooling and airflow analysis from CFD models. Once you have the proper sensors and monitoring in place, the measurements can be used to begin controlling your data center for maximum efficiency. The first thing to do is determine what is your current PUE and use this as a benchmark.

Power Monitoring

Monitor single-phase, three-phase, generators, and UPS battery backup power. AKCP Pro Server performs live Power Usage effectiveness (PUE) calculations so you have a complete overview of your power train and how adjustments in your data center directly impact your PUE.

Try out our online PUE Calculation Tool here

Environmental Monitoring
AKCP Cabinet Analysis Sensor

AKCP Cabinet Analysis Sensor

Monitor all your temperature, humidityairflowwater leak, and other environmental sensors. Configure rack maps to show the thermal properties of your computer cabinet, check the temperature at the top, middle, bottom, front, and rear, as well as temperature differentials.

If you’re interested in data center sustainability, you may want to inquire with AKCP Monitoring Solutions for their solution. Then take a close look at what your firm needs. Maybe you’re already on your way, or maybe you’re just getting started. AKCP has 30+ years of experience and a long record of assisting businesses at every step of their monitoring journey.

Reference Links:

https://www.worldfinance.com/strategy/green-data-centres-are-at-the-core-of-sustainability-strategy-for-business
https://eos.org/articles/u-s-data-centers-rely-on-water-from-stressed-basins
https://www.nlyte.com/faqs/what-is-data-center-sustainability/
AKCP5 Steps to Data Center Sustainability