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Datacenters need to be smarter about energy

The global datacenter industry accounts for around 3% of all global electricity and emits approximately 2% of greenhouse gas emissions – on par with the aviation industry. While energy efficiency in datacenters and the servers they host has improved, the growth in the ‘data economy’ means that energy footprint is still growing at a steady pace.

But as energy grids come under increasing strain, datacenters need to introduce sustainability both in terms of how energy is sourced and reused.

 

Datacenter energy requirements rising, energy grids can’t keep up

In the last decade, the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of datacenters has gone from 1.84 in 2007 to 1.17 in 2018. But the 'low hanging fruits’ of datacenter efficiency are gone, according to Kevin Brown, Schneider Electric’s Senior Vice President of Innovation, and “society will not take datacenters taking up a growing amount of energy”.

This could pose a problem, as the number and size of datacenters is predicted to grow, as are the workloads they house. A recent survey by DataCenter Knowledge suggests new datacenter construction will grow more than five times over the next three years, while Cisco predicts the number of ‘hyperscale’ sites will double between 2016 and 2021. Edge computing will see the number of edge/micro-datacenters increase, while inside growth in energy-hungry hardware such as cryptocurrency-miners and GPUs for AI applications could also push up energy requirements.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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