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Unleashing the potential of data centers: Overcoming challenges with environmental management solutions

Unleashing the potential of data centers: Overcoming challenges with environmental management solutions

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The rapid growth in data center demands has created several challenges, with issues such as thermal and power-related incidents continuing to pose significant problems for data center operators. As the industry addresses these challenges, a crowded market of data providers has emerged promising superior functions and usability. A recent EkkoSense report explores these solutions and the wider impact they could have on sustainability efforts.

Understanding the landscape:

To gain deeper insights into current Environmental Management Solutions (EMS), a comprehensive survey among C-level executives, directors, vice presidents, and engineers in North American data centers was conducted. The objectives were to:

  • Identify the current challenges faced by data centers in relation to thermal and power-related incidents
  • Assess the capabilities and shortcomings of existing data center optimization software
  • Understand priorities and investment plans in reducing operational risks

Summary of key findings:

Sluggish SLAs: Almost half (41%) of respondents reported that power and temperature-related incidents have adversely affected their Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These incidents can disrupt operations, leading to significant financial losses and reputational damage.

Inadequate visibility: An alarming 85% of respondents claimed that their visibility into rack and cooling systems ranged from standard to incapable. The lack of real-time operational visibility is a critical challenge that hinders the data centers’ ability to respond promptly to issues and prevent potential disasters.

Low confidence in monitoring systems: 41% of respondents expressed only slight confidence, while another 32% had no confidence at all in their current monitoring systems’ ability to provide timely alerts when racks or cooling units approach their operating limits. This points to a serious flaw in the systems’ ability to proactively manage risks.

The underachieving EMS:

Despite the urgent need for thermal and power risk management and the optimization of cooling systems, the average EMS utilized in North American data centers falls significantly short. These shortcomings have led to a considerable number of incidents impacting SLAs. For example, many respondents acknowledge the struggles that their employees face in maintaining and operating services effectively.

The power of visibility and usability:

The heart of these challenges lies in the overlooking of preventative and more effective solutions that prioritize visibility and usability. Visibility is a superpower within environmental management, with the ability to make previously invisible performance issues visible enabling a new generation of proactive risk management and efficient operations. Unfortunately, the survey highlights a lack of trust in current software systems’ visibility, effectiveness and alerts, exacerbating the complications faced by enterprises.

Investing in a sustainable future:

Addressing these complications ranked high on the investment priorities of respondents. A key takeaway was that respondents aim to improve or adopt Environmental Management Software within the next 24 months, with a focus on solutions that offer real-time cooling duty sensors, flexible granular sensors and embedded AI-enabled cooling advisory tools for on-going optimization. These initiatives align with the broader goals of reducing energy costs and minimizing carbon footprint.


The North American data center landscape urgently requires a more innovative approach to data center performance optimization. Any such approach has to offer capabilities around optimizing cooling capacity, providing real-time operational visibility to mitigate thermal and power risks, and minimizing energy waste to achieve sustainability objectives.

Most survey respondents acknowledged the limitations of their current EMS systems and are actively exploring investment options to reach their long-term goals. As the industry moves forward, considering tried-and-tested solutions that prioritize visibility and usability will pave the way for data centers to thrive in a sustainable and efficient manner. By harnessing the power of advanced EMS, data centers can rise to the challenges of the future with confidence and competence.

Author – Travis Talcott, Technical Sales Lead, EkkoSense

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