Green data centres to flourish in 2021
2021 will be the year of the green data centre, with new, energy-efficient technologies replacing legacy systems assisted by AI managed smart solutions.
Until now, the data centre industry has been a massive consumer of energy, using an estimated 1% of the globe's annual energy resources. But new, international climate-saving directives will see several trending renewable energy initiatives put into practice in 2021 to help meet 2030 zero-emissions targets. Green policies are already being implemented at the data centre planning stages, with solutions being incorporated into facility architectural design.
According to a new by DXC Technology, Data centres are responsible for approximately 2% of greenhouse gas emissions: nearly the equivalent of the entire global airline industry. As global concern for climate change grows, the industry has become a point of interest for regulatory agencies and B2B consumers alike.
A recent report in the states that while data centre workloads have increased six-fold from 2010 and 2020, the overall energy consumption has not increased by the same degree. While technological advances are credited for streamlining the energy usage in the data processing industry, the demand for data centres is increasing and will place unprecedented demands on global power sources unless renewable initiatives are widely adopted.
Data centres around the world have already implemented renewable energy solutions. Sources range from solar energy, wind energy and hydro energy. Repurposing excess heat generated by data centre servers is also being carried out by some Nordic and European-based companies to provide low-cost energy and heating to local communities.
Excessive water usage in data centres will be under scrutiny in 2021. In the US alone, an estimated 660bn litres of water is consumed annually to generate electricity and cool data centre equipment.
To combat excessive energy and water consumption and to reduce greenhouse emissions, there are five factors that data centres will be implementing and regulating over the next 12 months.
New locations and designs: Companies are employing green strategies at the drawing board stage. Data centres are also being built in strategic locations. Colder climates are favoured as the natural elements can be harnessed to reduce temperatures without the need for excessive energy usage. Countries that offer low-cost renewable energy, as well as tax breaks for climate-efficient operations are gaining in popularity. For example, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have all purchased land in Sweden because the colder environment helps to keep the costs of cooling to a minimum.
Decreasing data storage volume: Since the growing demand for data storage is the issue driving excess energy consumption, facilities can utilise advanced data compression, de-duplication and thin provisioning to manage the increased requirements. An estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced daily, worldwide, with that number expected to reach 463 exabytes per day by 2025.
Colocation and Cloud: Economies of scale can be applied by transitioning from private data centres to outsourced services. Data centre services providers will have the ability to enhance processing power while minimising waste and resource consumption.
Cooling solutions: Liquid cooling is trending. Antiquated air-cooling systems consume excessive resources to maintain servers and equipment. But liquid cooling can reduce power consumption for data centres by 20-30%. For example, Facebook implemented StatePoint in 2018, which has reduced the tech giants cooling expenses by 20% in hot climates and up to 90% in colder climates.
Resiliency: Diesel generators are becoming an outmoded feature as leading tech companies' pilot energy-efficient ways of creating back-up power in the event of an outage. Google is considering the potential of lithium-ion batteries for back-up power which could anchor carbon-free electric grids.
LCL acquires ENGIE Solutions data centre in Gembloux
The data centre company LCL has announced today that it has acquired the ENGIE solutions data centre in Gembloux, Belgium through the acquisition of Cofely data solutions. The new facility, called Wallonia One, is the company’s first facility in Wallonia. As part of the agreement, LCL will take over the management of the facility’s employees as well as the data centre itself. The value of the acquisition is undisclosed.
LCL says that Wallonia One is its fifth data centre in the Belgian market and its second acquisition, after purchasing the Atos data centre in Huizingen in April last year. Laurens van Reijen, CEO of LCL, said: “With this fifth data centre, we are increasing our presence on the market. Gembloux is located in the heart of the Walloon economy. As a result, LCL Wallonia One offers excellent connection possibilities for the business sites and parks throughout Wallonia.
“Thanks to our other strategic sites located in the four corners of the Brussels and Antwerp peripheries, we can ensure that any company will have close links with other regions in our country”, van Reijen said.
Four employees under a fixed contract with Cofely Data Solutions will be joining the LCL team for the acquisition. Remaining part of the LCL Wallonia One, the employees will be under the leadership of their current manager, Nicolas Coppée, LCL said.
“We warmly welcome our four new colleagues and their support will be effectively integrated,” said Laurens van Reijen. “LCL is still strongly driven by service and quality. We intend not only to build synergies between our five data centres but also to introduce some innovations. Our current team of 37 employees is specialised in data centre services. So this is a win-win-win operation: for the customers of data centres, for ENGIE Solutions, and for LCL”.
Wallonia One’s “solar park”
LCL also says that the Wallonia One data centre features a solar park to provide power for the facility. The park includes 2,000 photovoltaic panels which generate 1MW of electricity, LCL claims. The centre also has a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.25, in line with the company’s sustainability and efficiency objectives.
Committed to making all of its data centres carbon-neutral by 2030, LCL has created the “Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact” across Europe, which consists of 24 companies and 17 associations.
In addition to Wallonia One, LCL and ENGIE Solutions have also concluded a collaboration agreement, thus enabling ENGIE Solutions to build new data centres for LCL. There are also plans for ENGIE Solutions to advise LCL on energy efficiency, given ENGIE’s experience in such projects.