CIOs are now insisting that vendors put as much emphasis on product design for greenness as for traditional data center features like performance and reliability, writes Prasanna Kr. Srivastava

Green data centers are gaining traction all over the world. Organizations are opting for green initiatives for their regular IT operations to save costs and play a part in fighting climate change.

What are green data centers?

A green data center is one in which the lighting, mechanical, electrical, and computer systems offer optimal energy efficiency with very low environment impact. Green data centers comprise energy-efficient components, such as UPS, servers, and cooling systems.

The global green data center market size is expected to reach $142.8 billion by 2026, rising at a market growth of 19.7% CAGR during the forecast period.

Why green data centers are the talk of the town

The growth of the green data center market is fueled by the concern about the increasing energy consumption by data centers and a crackdown by governments on energy consumption.

Worldwide, data centers are reported to consume 200 terawatt-hour (TWh) of electricity each year (2018), producing an estimated 0.3% of overall CO2 emissions and this level could hit double-digits by 2030, adding more carbon emissions.

In other words, a high demand for data storage management, growing energy cost, and massive electricity consumption are some of the catalysts for green data center market growth.

How to turn the data center green

The modern data center cannot afford to be an energy-guzzler anymore. If we look at Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), the measure of energy efficiency in data centers, the theoretical ideal stands at 1. This is where 100% of electricity consumption goes toward useful computation.

In order to achieve that state of sustainability the data centers will have to aim for-

  • An expected PUE of 1.10
  • Use air cooling system that delivers 80% savings in run costs and if possible, use more efficient liquid cooling system
  • Developing center on a brownfield site to avoid unnecessary construction activity
  • Using renewable power provision to reduce carbon emissions
  • Constructing modules with recyclable materials
  • Using cleaner flywheel energy storage technology instead of environmentally damaging batteries

Green data center market in APAC

APAC is the fastest-growing region in the green data center market and has witnessed huge investments in data center construction.

Some of the factors that are fueling this growth are:

  • Increasing internet penetration
  • Cloud computing
  • Growing economy
  • Rapid infrastructure development has attributed to the growth of the green data center market in the region.

The major vendors providing green data center solutions in APAC are Eaton, Schneider Electric, Delta Electronics, and many more.

Green data center market in India

Mordor Intelligence report says the India data center market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8% over 2021-26, driven by rapid adoption of cloud-based business and increased proliferation of online shopping due to the availability of user-friendly interfaces, high-speed internet, and smart devices.

State governments initiatives to attract the construction of data centers in their states for economic growth would shape into a massive opportunity.

With more than 669 million internet users presently and the aim to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, it is expected that India will embrace massive data at explosive rates in the coming years.

The market could also gain from new restrictions and limits on locations of data centers – as seen in major data center hubs in Asia, like Singapore.

Many companies have already started investing in this space.

  • April 2020: Google announced an investment of around USD 400 million in the deployment of Blue-Raman cable that will connect India with Israel and Italy.
  • August 2020: Equinix entered India with the acquisition of GPX Global Systems in Mumbai, a deal likely to close by Q2 2021.
  • December 2020: Adani Group announced to set up a hyper-scale data center facility that will entail an investment of USD 340 million in Chennai. It has inked a partnership with EdgeConneX, to build and operate 1 GW of data center campuses across the country. Incidentally, they could be powered by renewable energy power plants in India.
  • Investment in self-built facilities: National Payments Corporation of India, State Bank of India, National Payments Corporation of India, and Information Technology Department Tamil Nadu Colt DCS have been developing the largest data center in Mumbai, reportedly with a total power capacity of over 100 MW.

Going green is not a gimmicky trend. The growing cost of energy is painfully evident for CIOs, who, in turn, are insisting that vendors put as much emphasis on product design for greenness as more traditional features such as performance and reliability.

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Prasanna Kr. Srivastava is an astute writer and a proponent of sustainable energy. He has written articles on a variety of issues spanning from technologies in renewable energy to electric vehicles, storage, waste management, sustainability, and water management. He has dual master's degree (MBA and psychology) and is also a computer programmer. He has worked on "World Bank and Earth Day Network" projects in India. He may be reached on Twitter at @CleanFutur

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