The Advantages of a Green Data Center

A data center is a highly sophisticated facility that houses servers, storage and computer hardware.

As demand for computing power has grown exponentially over the last decade, so too have the needs for energy-efficient equipment  and sustainable construction methods within these specialised buildings.

So with high performance in mind, is there an advantage to being ‘greener’ when it comes to building a green data center and maintaining it?

This article will give you an insight into the advantages of a green data center so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to housing your data and lowering your carbon footprint.

 

In the article:

  • Are there any advantages of a green data center?
  • A few advantages of a ‘greener’ data center:
  • Are there any disadvantages of a green data center
  • Reducing your Carbon Footprint

Are there any advantages of a green data center?

These days, protecting the environment is just as important as protecting your data.

So whilst it may not be possible to have a completely sustainable and eco-friendly data center, it is possible to implement ‘greener’ concepts into your data center design. And the advantages for considering your carbon footprint speak for themselves.

Whilst some data center managers may see a more sustainable approach to their data as a disadvantage, the list of advantages of an eco-conscious design far outweighs any concerns they may have.

And how about the advantages for your organization?

Besides the economic benefits, less energy consumption and a reduced impact on the environment could just shine a light on the difference between your data center and that of others.

 

A few advantages of a ‘greener’ data center:

Reduced Impact on the Environment

The idea of a green data center concept is to reduce the impact on the environment, essentially using equipment, technology and new techniques to help save energy.

With new equipment and increasing technological developments, it is easier to have a capable and more energy efficient design than ever.

Whilst the equipment itself may not be considered eco-friendly as such, newer equipment will perform significantly better than older equipment, lowering the power consumption and creating a more sustainable facility.

 

Reduced Energy Consumption

One of the key differences between a standard data center and a sustainable one, is the amount of energy consumed.

Power consumption can be reduced in green data centers using a trending modern method called virtualization.

Rather than a data center being hosted on physical servers, a green data center can be transformed into a virtual data center using cloud computing technologies.

By doing this, there is less need for basic data center design components such as lighting, flooring and cooling, allowing the virtual data centers to operate at a higher temperature with a lower carbon footprint.

 

Turning of Unused Servers

Another advantage of a green data center is that the dead or unused servers can simply be turned off, lowering energy consumed and cutting costs for their owner.

In a typical data center, servers which are not being used or kept for potential expansion of the data center are left sitting in ‘idle’. Whilst in idle, they still consume power and other resources, meaning they still contribute to the bills even when they are not in use.

Although turning off or removing these idling servers may limit the reserved space for the data center operator, it will allow for savings and sustainability until it is ready to expand.

 

Economic Benefits

Besides all of the environmental benefits, a green data center can provide an organization with considerable economical benefits.

Although the design and construction of a green data center would initially have a higher cost, once built it would reap the financial benefits.

The cost of electricity would be reduced significantly and with the right procedures in place, e-waste (such as old hardware or equipment) can be recycled, bringing in another source of revenue.

 

Using Renewable Energy Sources

A traditional data center uses a HVAC (Heat, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system to maintain the environment of the facility, which uses a considerable amount of energy. This system can have its own issues when it comes to airflow management .

With a sustainable approach, a green data center can utilise the natural cooling sources like water and air to create and maintain the optimal temperature for the servers. Using mostly air-based or liquid-based cooling systems, a green data center will ensure you aren’t contributing to environmental issues.

The energy sources and cooling are also recycled to provide air-conditioning for the data center.

 

Are there any disadvantages of a green data center

Although we have discussed many advantages of a ‘greener’ approach to data centers, it does come with it’s small disadvantages.

Often green data centers are not found in the same location as other companies. Which in effect, could lead to additional costs when setting up new servers and having them placed in strategic locations. There may also be more latency resulting from the distance between the servers and the people who need them.

Depending on the importance of sustainability versus cost, a ‘greener’ approach could see a higher initial cost compared to a traditional data center. It could also require more consistent upgrading of equipment and technology to ensure minimum and efficient energy consumption.

Lastly, a green data center may require different staff (or perhaps provide staff the opportunity to upskill) as they may require a different skill set or experience to run this type of data center.

 

Reducing your Carbon Footprint

Having a green data center certainly has its advantages however you don’t have to completely go green to reduce your carbon footprint.

By implementing just a few sustainable approaches, you could start to be rewarded by the benefits without having to worry about changing the whole design of your existing facility.

Adopting a few of the greener concepts, even if it’s only in certain parts of the design, could allow you to start to consider the environment and see if it makes a difference to your efficiency and energy bill.

Find out more green data center concepts  and decide whether a green data center would be good for your business.

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