Cloud computing is a major benefactor of 24/7 datacenters, and on Earth Day, it's a great time to think about the importance of running ecologically friendly datacenters to save energy costs, help our environment and be good stewards of the Earth.
So, what is a green datacenter?
It's a home for servers, storage, networking and other IT infrastructure, along with energy efficient computing, lighting, electrical and cooling systems needed to run high-efficiency corporate workloads. Green datacenters can dramatically save on energy and cooling costs, while also reducing emissions for the power plants which serve them, due to lower electrical use.
Traditional datacenters can be big consumers of electrical power and cooling water, as well as large users of land due to big building footprints that create impervious surfaces. Previously they were built without consideration of green building materials, which included the use of carpeting, paint, wall materials, flooring and other materials that can contain substances that are not Earth-friendly.
Earth Day began in 1970 to raise national awareness of environmental issues at a time in the United States when waterway and air pollution woes were looming large in our national consciousness.
Since then, datacenter design and operations are often done using a green datacenter approach by choosing materials, equipment, operating protocols, energy choices, landscaping, facility locations and other factors that can make datacenters more energy and environmentally efficient.
Meanwhile, businesses are constantly increasing their datacenter needs due to an exponentially growing amount of business data that must be stored, putting pressure on a wide range of systems, from the electrical grid to water sources and more.
To plan and operate a green datacenter, or to work to make your existing traditional datacenter more eco-friendly, here are some tips and ideas to implement changes and conserve natural resources:
- A green datacenter is designed and built with the goals of maximum energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact, through the use of advanced technologies and strategies. In addition to electrical, water and land use efficiencies, green datacenters can also take advantage of specialized initiatives, such as installing catalytic converters on engine-operated backup generators, as well as implementing alternative energy technologies including photovoltaics, heat pumps and evaporative cooling.
- By making datacenters more efficient, companies can reduce their carbon footprints, which are the impacts of the energy created from fossil fuels that power their operations. Green datacenters can automatically turn off power-consuming servers when they are not being used, which lowers energy costs and conserves power.
- The use of new energy-efficient servers, switches, lighting and cooling equipment and other hardware and systems is a must in modern green datacenters. Older hardware wasn't built with energy conservation in mind, and its replacement is huge in making a datacenter more efficient, while also adding large and noticeable performance gains as well.
- The introduction of virtualization in datacenters is also a boost to efficiencies by reducing the amount of hardware that's required. Replacing physical servers with software-based virtual servers cuts energy consumption and drives other improvements.
- Increasing the temperature inside a datacenter by one degree can also have a positive impact on saving energy, according to a March 2017 story by Greener Ideal. "Operators of large datacenters that have seen substantial reductions in energy consumption from operating a higher-temperature datacenter include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Intel, etc." In some cases, a company might see over a four percent reduction in energy costs by increasing the temperature of its datacenter by a single degree.
Green data design and operations have been multiplying worldwide. An intriguing story from GreenBiz provides details about 12 innovative green datacenters around the world that can offer inspiration and ideas for eco-friendly datacenter operations.
5nine promotes an ecologically friendly datacenter by providing lightweight solution that maximizes VM density and doesn’t require additional hardware. Essentially, our unified cloud management and security platform helps datacenters maximize their server space to use less energy. If you’d like to learn more about how the 5nine platform can increase your datacenter's efficiency, let us know how we can help.
Moving to a green datacenter has a wide range of benefits for companies, communities and the environment. And that's just the thing to think about on Earth Day and every day.