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Embracing transformative technologies for a greener future is a golden opportunity 

Embracing transformative technologies for a greener future is a golden opportunity 

Data CentresGreen TechnologyIndustry ExpertPower & Cooling

The pressing issues of our era, such as environmental concerns and global crises, demand a proactive approach. Reminding us that the climate itself doesn’t have the luxury of time, Oleksandr Maidaniuk, VP of Technology, Intellias, touches on how it is paramount for swift, informed decisions to help implement sustainable practices, and how these will ensure positive impacts in both sustainable and operational efforts.

Oleksandr Maidaniuk, VP of Technology, Intellias

In recent years the pace of technological innovation has continued to gather speed at an incredible rate. In fact, rarely a day goes by without some form of emerging technology being reported in global media. However, while so many of these impressive products and solutions are designed to improve our quality of life and make businesses more productive, the growing impact they are collectively having on our planet can’t be ignored.

As our reliance on technology becomes ever greater, so too does our need for the natural resources and raw materials used to manufacture the latest innovations. Global energy consumption is also rising rapidly, particularly in areas like data centre management, which is multiplying the carbon footprints of all involved. According to the IEA, the energy consumption of data centres now accounts for about 1% of the world’s entire electricity use, with a recent BCG report stating that the telecom industry produces 3% to 4% of the world’s CO2 emissions – twice as much as the civil aviation industry. This is a significant share for an industry that many people may not directly associate with environmental concerns at all.

While it’s hard to argue against the many benefits that technology brings to all our lives, it’s increasingly clear that it can’t come at the expense of the environment around us. Simply put: we must manage innovation in a way that is both sustainable and kind to the Earth.

Naturally, green business practices will play a pivotal role in this, and executive teams are increasingly expected to lead their organisations in more holistic ways, mitigating environmental impact while executing effective growth strategies. But with so many factors involved, what’s the best way to go about doing this?

Below are three key strategies that data centres can adopt to enjoy the benefits of new technology whilst simultaneously minimising their carbon footprint, resulting in more sustainable operating models for the future, include:

Embrace Edge and serverless computing solutions

Traditional cloud computing models require 24/7 server uptime, even when they aren’t being used, which wastes huge amounts of energy as well as increasing costs. Serverless computing completely solves these issues by spinning servers up and down based on real-time demand. Instead of having servers continually running (and using energy), they are only active when they need to process data. As a result, serverless computing is naturally more energy-effective, considerably decreasing overall energy consumption and subsequently the carbon emissions created.

Serverless computing isn’t the only technology available to help data centres reduce energy consumption either. Edge Computing is another fantastic innovation that, when implemented effectively, can enable more sustainable cloud computing solutions. According to a recent study by the AIOTI Carbon Footprint Methodology Report, Edge Computing can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90%. Instead of transmitting data over long distances to centralised servers, Edge Computing enables local data processing. This helps save energy and, in turn, lowers the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced.

By combining serverless architectures with Edge Computing, data centres can take a major step towards a more sustainable future without sacrificing operational performance. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – which is why such innovations are becoming increasingly hard to pass up among forward thinking leadership teams.

Explore innovations in sustainable hardware

The path to a more sustainable future doesn’t stop at software architecture. There are also ground-breaking hardware innovations emerging that promise to revolutionise data centre energy consumption and operational needs in the near future.

Graviton processors are one such example. Engineered by Amazon Web Services to be as energy efficient as possible, these game-changing processors offer 60% energy saving compared to classical x86 processors. Of course, energy savings on this scale don’t just promote greener operations, they also have the potential to significantly cut running costs as well, which makes an extremely compelling financial case for data centre managers.

The adoption of innovative new hardware like Graviton processors will be a huge step towards mitigating the tech industry’s environmental impact overall. Continued reliance on energy-intensive old processors is not only damaging the environment, but also hitting many organisations right where it hurts – their profit margins. For these reasons, the transition to more energy-efficient alternatives isn’t just worthwhile, it is inevitable. Those failing to do so may soon find themselves at a severe competitive disadvantage, putting their long-term future in jeopardy.

Partner with experts in sustainable business practices

These developments in software and hardware have the potential to change the game when it comes to sustainable business practices. Individually they can make a big impact, but combined they offer a highly potent toolset for those looking to make a true difference to the way they conduct their operations. 

However, maximising this potential still requires the right execution. Technology by itself is just an instrument. Integrating it into real world practices takes expert knowledge and business acumen as well as the right long-term vision, which isn’t always easy to see at the outset.

Fortunately, data centres don’t have to go it alone. Instead, they can partner with sustainability experts to help them unlock the power of the latest technology. Working closely with key stakeholders, these experts can create fully tailored technology solutions that not only meet long-term sustainability targets, but also streamline existing operations and processes, resulting in a rapid return on any investments made.

In today’s fast-paced, digital-first landscape, it can be difficult for business leaders to stop and consider the wider impact of their actions. However, the future of our planet is increasingly reliant on them doing so. Fortunately, advances in technology have made it easier than ever to achieve true sustainability without sacrificing competitive advantage, giving every data centre everywhere a golden opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate commitment to a greener future. The sooner they act, the faster it will become a reality, so the time for action is now.

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