#TECH: Guide for data centres to achieve "net-zero" operations

KUALA LUMPUR: In a move to assist companies running and owning data centres that want to lessen the environmental effect of their operations, Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, has published an online resource called the "Guide to Data Centre Sustainability".

Essentially, a data centre is a physical location that companies use to store important data and applications. It is composed of networked computers, storage systems, and computing tools used to gather, process, store, and distribute enormous volumes of data.

Routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers, and application-delivery controllers are key components of a data centre design.

According to the International Energy Agency, data centres account for about one per cent of the global electricity demand. The report said by improving operational efficiency, the industry was able to limit the impact of capacity growth on total energy consumption prior to 2020.

However, market intelligence forecasts a 13 per cent compound annual growth rate in data centre development over the next five years as a result of a more than 40 per cent increase in worldwide internet traffic in 2020.

"The focus on operational efficiency has enabled significant improvements, but now new strategies and more intelligent systems are required to drive down emissions and water use as the industry continues to grow.

"As a provider of infrastructure solutions to enterprises, colocation and cloud providers, Vertiv is well-positioned to share best practices and new developments across these sectors," said Vertiv's head of ESG strategy and engagement, TJ Faze.


A data centre is a critical asset for everyday operations because businesses rely heavily on the applications, services, and data contained within it. Enterprise data centres are increasingly incorporating facilities for securing and protecting cloud computing resources as well as on-site, in-house resources.

During a roundtable discussion held here, Vertiv vice president of infrastructure solutions, Chee Hoe Ling, and senior director of telecom sales for Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, Danny Wong, shared more information about the online resource.

According to them, with a greater emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, some operators are looking for new solutions to increase equipment utilisation and drive out remaining inefficiencies, phase out water-intensive cooling technologies, and reduce their reliance on carbon-based energy sources.

Large hyperscale operators have led the industry movement, with goals of becoming carbon neutral or negative by the end of this decade. These operators are leading the way in developing technologies that support these objectives and creating a roadmap for the rest of the industry.

"We're seeing a sense of urgency by operators across the industry to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment, and this new resource is designed to help them do just that," said Faze.

The Vertiv "Guide to Data Centre Sustainability" advises operators on the following topics – the business case for decreasing environmental effect; how the infrastructure of data centres and related technologies are changing to allow better energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy; implementation and evaluation tools, frameworks, and metrics for sustainability programmes; and the most effective methods for creating and running low-impact data centres.

The team also shared that many colocation providers have transitioned to carbon-neutral and water-efficient operations in order to capitalise on market demand for data centre services that support their enterprise customers' environmental goals. To support those goals, Vertiv suggested that enterprises must also consider the impact of their on-premises data centres.

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