It’s all too easy when you are surfing the net without knowing about the impact that it is going to have on the environment. We intuitively know that it’s greener to look up for information online. Nonetheless, that is partly because we tend to think of the web as somehow ethereal with no substantial base and therefore no apparent effect on the environment. On the other hand, all of the data that we view on the internet must be stored somewhere, and the huge majority lives on servers in large data centres that unfortunately do have a noteworthy environmental footprint.
The data centre management comprises of two key components which can each offer a number of prospects for financial and ecological competencies. The first is the actual IT equipment. The stuff that provides the core function and purpose of a centre, such as the data servers themselves and the network switches serving them. Secondly, infrastructure that is necessary to house the IT equipment and keep it running competently as well as securely. The support can be made up of cooling gear, security devices, lighting, etc.
The ratio of energy that is used in the data centre’s infrastructure to the energy used to power the IT equipment is recognized as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and is the business standard for measuring their effectiveness. A PUE score of 2, for instance, would signify that for each unit of power being used up by the IT equipment the infrastructure was spending an additional unit.
The first step to becoming a greener data centre can be to make sure that the source of the energy or electrical energy being used is renewable. This can be attained either partnering up solely with a supplier of renewable energy or by sourcing energy straight away using sustainable methods. Some suppliers are going as far as finding solar energy farms on site to acquire the energy they need.
It is also significant to have accurate and in-depth monitoring of the energy, which is consumed at each point within the data centre so that further efficacies can be spotted. Most suppliers will have monitoring in place to compute the PUE score, but the accurateness of this surveillance and the assignment of energy intake between the IT equipment and infrastructure can potentially differ slightly from one centre to another.
It is inevitable that the largest proportion of energy cast off by a data centre will be used by its IT equipment, such as the servers, which is the principal purpose of the centre. On the other hand, savings can still be made here, and all through the supporting infrastructure, by making use of the most energy-efficient hardware that can be obtained. A remarkable amount of energy is, for instance, lost in incompetent power suppliers before it even reaches the servers. Even though this might mean a high primary outlay the energy saving, will over the long tenure translate to financial along with environmental savings.
As with any production unit, key savings can be made in the production of all of the apparatus used in a data centre, from the servers to the cooling systems. By obtaining materials locally, for instance, the first carbon footprint of those supplies can be cut. Once they have aided their purpose, they might also still have a life beyond that. Servers which have been superseded for a particular role or function must still be re-purposed within the centre in another part where they are still sufficiently robust. Those components which cannot be reused within the data centre may still be of use to others and so reselling them might be a further option.