Why Data Centers Should Monitor Their Environmental Impact?

Charmie Lyn FloresArticles, Blog

environment monitoring of data center
According to recent survey data from Uptime Institute, despite a rising focus on environmental sustainability, most data center operators are still not evaluating their water and carbon footprints, or their e-waste disposal programs. However, it is advised that all data centers should be monitoring their environmental impact.

Why Data Centers Should Monitor Their Environmental Impact?

Because power is the single highest operating cost in the data center, 82% of data center managers evaluated electricity usage and 70% monitor Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), a major energy efficiency metric, according to Uptime annual Global Data Center Survey for 2021.
 
Barely half of the managers measure water usage at any level, and only a third monitor their carbon footprint or e-waste, according to Uptime. The findings contradict the narrative from the industry’s largest hyperscale operators and service providers, who are increasing their sustainability efforts.
  • Facebook has announced ambitions to become water-positive by 2030, adding to its existing goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire supply chain by that time.
  • Google recently announced an ambitious water stewardship goal of replenishing 120% of the water used in its offices and data centers. By 2030, Google has pledged to run its data centers on carbon-free electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • By 2030, Microsoft wants to be carbon neutral, meaning it will have eliminated all direct GHG emissions as well as those from its entire supply and value chain. This includes a plant that plans to phase out diesel-powered data center generators by 2030.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) says it has “many initiatives underway to use water more effectively and use less potable water to cool our data centers” and aspires to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025.
  • Digital Realty, Equinix, Iron Mountain, and Sabey Data Centers are among the multi-tenant operators that have committed to the Science-Based Targets project to cut emissions in order to fulfill the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
These commitments contrast sharply with Uptime’s conclusion that only 33% of data center administrators analyze carbon emissions for corporate data centers and IT operations. In the industry, there’s an old adage that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” If that’s the case, two-thirds of data centers’ climate impact is effectively unregulated.

Climate Compliance

climate compliance of data centers

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The Uptime Institute polled over 800 data center operators, as well as 550 vendors and consultants, to provide one of the most thorough surveys on industry attitudes.
 
The findings point to a widening mismatch between environmental stewardship and environment, social, and governance (ESG) compliance, with businesses pushing cloud platforms and service providers to standards of accountability that appear impossible to apply to their on-premises operations.
 
If this trend continues, the most efficient and quickest method to meet climate targets would be to accelerate the shift of workloads from on-premises data centers to more efficient facilities run by cloud platforms and purpose-built service providers.
 
According to the Uptime statistics, while most respondents consider power usage to be a business problem, they do not consider water and trash to be as important.
 
The reason why data center managements don’t track their water usage is that because there’s no business case, which shows management isn’t concerned about cost, danger, or environmental concerns. Even those who do not track their water consumption say they wish to cut back.
 
In actuality, the increased corporate attention on environmental, social, and governance concerns will have an influence beyond mere power. Early examples can be found in the debates over data center water usage in drought-stricken areas like Phoenix, where new Microsoft and Facebook projects have come under fire. As a result, the firms have made significant investments in local water conservation projects.
 
According to Uptime, external and regulatory pressure may soon begin to push down water use. A rising number of towns are only allowing new data center developments if they are designed to use very little or no direct water. These requirements will have a significant impact on future facility design and product choices, requiring cooling equipment that uses water sparingly.

Challenges for Operators

challenges in data centers to monitor environmental impact

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For outage prevention, environmental sustainability, and overall performance, the stakes have never been higher. To minimize service delivery risk and maximize resiliency, companies must continue to carefully examine their mission-critical digital infrastructure and operations.
 
Uptime, which, as its name suggests, is known for giving uptime recommendations and is known for its Tier system of evaluating data center operational risk and performance, has always focused on reliability as a key focus of study.
 
According to Uptime, the number of data center outages has decreased, but the repercussions have worsened. In 2021, 69% of data center owners and operators said they had experienced some type of outage in the previous three years, down from 78% in the three years before to 2020. About half of the outages are minor and have few ramifications, but the other half incur significant financial, operational, and reputational harm.
When outages are severe, they become more expensive. According to the poll, 62% of outages that respondents described as substantial, serious, or severe cost more than $100,000 (up from 56% in 2020), with 15% costing more than $1 million.
 
In 2021, on-site power equipment like UPS systems and generators were the most common source of outages, followed by cooling problems, software or IT system mistakes, and network issues, as in previous Uptime surveys. According to the findings, 79% of data center outages are caused by human error, with staff failure to execute or faulty policies and procedures being the two most common causes. Three out of every four owners and operators say their most recent outage could have been avoided, up from 16% in 2019.

Importance of Environmental Monitoring

Environment Monitoring

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Disasters Come In Every Size

Major events like power outages and burst water pipes cause instant damage, particularly when they occur after hours. Other events are slow creepers, like falling humidity, which causes static electricity build-up that eventually damages equipment.

Environmental monitoring systems prevent damage from all of these problems because they “watch” all conditions and alert you immediately to deviations from the norm. Various types of sensors are positioned throughout the data center, constantly reporting their status to the monitoring unit. As soon as a data reading falls outside the preset “normal” parameter, the unit sends an alarm by:

  • Text
  • Phone
  • Mail
  • SNMP trap

Depends On The Infrastructure

Air conditioning systems, UPS systems, and backup generators all need to be operating at peak efficiency to ensure that your servers and network gear continue to run without interruption. Environmental monitoring systems can simultaneously monitor both the network environment and Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) devices. Any device that has a TCP/IP address can be monitored. The system detects variances in environmental conditions and notifies the appropriate personnel before a glitch becomes a disaster.

Early Detection Of The Following:

  • Downtime
  • Offline Router
  • HVAC Failure
  • Power Outage
  • Water Leak
  • High & Low Humidity
  • High & Low Temperature
  • Restricted Airflow
  • Unauthorized Access

AKCP Environment Monitoring For Data Centers

Monitoring the environmental conditions in your computer room and data center is essential. Ensuring you are running at optimal ASHRAE recommended temperatures will mean less downtime and longer life of your servers and rack-mounted equipment. AKCP has a range of sensors to help you do this, from basic temperature and humidity sensors to cabinet thermal maps for detailed monitoring.

With over 30 years of experience in Data Center monitoring, AKCP is the world’s leader in SNMP-based Data Center Environment Monitoring Solutions. AKCP has a variety of wired and wireless to choose from depending on your need. 

Types of Environmental Monitoring

Temperature, humidity, fluids, leaks, smoke, fire, and other environmental characteristics may all be monitored in the server room to ensure optimal reliability while cutting cooling costs and attaining greener IT. This type of action helps to protect mission-critical equipment against failure, as well as performance degradation, intermittent failures, total equipment failure, and data loss.

AKCP Temperature Monitoring

AKCP temperature monitoring is an automatic mechanism that alerts IT, administrators if the temperature in the server room climbs above a specified threshold. It’s a key duty to guarantee that the server’s performance isn’t harmed by high room temperature.

AKCP Humidity Monitoring

The majority of electronic components are made to work in a specified humidity range. Low humidity environments increase the risk of electrostatic discharge (ESD), which can cause immediate and catastrophic failure of electronic components. Whereas high humidity environments can cause disk drives to fail, resulting in data loss and downtime, low humidity environments increase the risk of electrostatic discharge (ESD), which can cause immediate and catastrophic failure of electronic components.

AKCP Motion Detection

After hours, or even during the day, many server rooms are left unattended. By leaving a door open, other personnel may unintentionally sabotage the server room. Installing motion detectors in the server room is a simple and cost-effective approach for IT employees to stay informed and alerted of all activities.

AKCP Smoke Detection

In the case of a fire, additional smoke detectors in the server room will provide IT, workers, as much notice as possible. This enables responsible staff to start catastrophe recovery operations as soon as feasible, reducing overall downtime.

AKCP Camera Surveillance

CCTV cameras are an excellent technique to secure the server room. They not only record specific occurrences such as door openings, motion detection, and so on, but they also serve as a visual deterrent to burglars. The bright, sharp images can be emailed, FTP’d, MMS’d, or streamed directly to a cell phone and transmitted to IT employees anywhere.

Conclusion

The lifeblood of many organizations is stored in data centers. To safeguard it from harmful environmental conditions, it only makes sense to have the correct monitor. And selecting the correct atmosphere safeguards not only enterprises but also the reputation of our data center.

If the environment monitor keeps a complete record of the aforementioned environmental elements, it can only accomplish wonders. If you run your data center through an integrated management system, its value will increase as well. And that’s the kind of dedication you’ll need for data center monitoring.

Reference Links:

https://www.sensaphone.com/industries/data-center/example/power-and-equipment-failure-monitoring
https://blog.sensaphone.com/data-centers-environmental-monitoring-systems
https://dataspan.com/blog/what-is-environmental-monitoring/
Charmie Lyn FloresWhy Data Centers Should Monitor Their Environmental Impact?