Data centre power consumption ‘unsustainable’

Data centres now a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, warns Eaton

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Data centre power consumption ‘unsustainable’ Roudet: More and more of what we do with technology relies on data centres
By  Tom Paye Published  July 17, 2014

The unparalleled growth in the data centre industry, triggered by the exponential rise in internet-connected devices, has led to unsustainable levels of energy use, according to Fabrice Roudet, programme manager at Eaton's Power Quality division.

Speaking to Network Middle East, Roudet said that the ICT industry has become a major contributor to the overall rise in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. He claimed that, today, around 2% of global carbon emissions come from the manufacture and use of IT, and of that, data centres represent a significant and growing share.

"At the turn of the century, after years of rapid growth, the power consumption of data centres crossed the threshold of 1% of all power generated in developed economies," he said.

The good news, Roudet said, was that organisations around the world were beginning to realise that current levels of consumption were unsustainable, and that many were taking steps to reduce their power requirements. This is particularly true at the data centre level, he said.

"The IT industry has realised what the continuation of the power consumption trend means from an economic and environmental standpoint," he said. "The focus is shifting from increasing performance and capacity only, to a more balanced view that placed a high value on energy efficiency."

With data centre growth still climbing, Roudet said that many organisations were taking more environmentally friendly approaches to building new data centres. However, he did caution that this was causing challenges.

"The installation of data centres is now an extremely complex process, with significant planning to be done upfront," he said.

"We are finding that the consideration for energy efficiency being taken into account is growing constantly more important. As with the demand in power also comes the demand for faster, more efficient and reliable IT performance and providers are not willing to have to make a compromise on quality."

Roudet explained that to implement a ‘green' network - one that is energy efficient and environmentally friendly - enterprises needed to look towards creating efficiencies in the data centre first.

"At the centre of a green enterprise network there has to be one or several smarter, more energy-efficient data centres. Why? Because more and more of what we do with technology relies on data centres," he said.

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