Data, data everywhere

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Lora Brill
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

We are growing increasingly dependent on digital communication, storage and processing for economic productivity and leisure. Every time we send information from one site to another via the internet (gaming, emails, international calls, credit card transactions) or save data to a remote location (reports, databases, emails, financial records, YouTube videos) – a data centre is whirring away somewhere to enable that digital action.

Little wonder then that data centres are a growth industry. And, as data center energy intensity is 20 to 100 times that of an office building, energy efficiency is a real issue. The most credible estimate of the percentage of global electricity consumed by data centres was 1% in 2005. Six years on, this share has surely increased.

A decade ago the ‘green the data centre’ movement had a tough time convincing risk-averse companies that security and uninterruptible uptime could be maintained with more energy efficient technology and management.  Now, ‘Green IT’ is finally gaining traction rather than lip service among large operators: free cooling, virtualisation, wider temperature bands, efficient servers, cable cleanup, increased energy and temperature monitoring, etc.

Dedicated data centres have started picking up ‘gold dust’ by implementing energy efficient practices and cutting energy bills. Yet, Jones Lang LaSalle’s office energy audits find that thousands of office server rooms across the globe haven’t caught on yet and are passing by potential cost savings with poorly fitted rooms and outdated management practices. Have you checked to see if there is gold dust in your IT closet?

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