Future Data Centers

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Future Data Centers

By: Nicole Aiello

Data centers are the powerhouse of the internet. I would not be able to write this blog and you certainly wouldn’t be able to read it if it wasn’t for the multitude of data centers’ network of building systems, telecommunications, computer systems, storage, and related mechanisms. It’s no surprise that data centers are “energy guzzlers that can demand megawatts worth of electricity to operate” (Nelson, 2017) as Network World’s Patrick Nelson put it. A company can reduce their overhead costs by implementing self-sustaining energy sources for their data centers. A strive for a greener data center doesn’t stop at zero intake – zero waste is an emerging trend in this technology as well. According to TechRepublic (Shalcklett, 2018), 2019 will launch data centers into a “greener” and more self-sustenance era. Last year Aruba set precedent for future data centers by opening the first self-sustaining data center named the Global Cloud Data Center (ID3) in Milan, Italy. Setting the competition bar highest this year is Apple who announced in April of this year that it is now 100% powered by renewable energy (Apple, 2018). Their “data center has been designed to make the most of every possible solution to reduce its impact on the environment as much as possible,” the company says. “It is also supplied with 100 percent renewable energy from sources certified by the European Guarantee of Origin (GO).” (Nelson, 2017) Google has followed suit and constructed a solar farm to sustain their data center in Belgium reaching 100% sustainability in 2017 says ZDNet’s Steve Ranger (Ranger, 2018). With these tech giants putting their green thumb forward, their data centers are able to run with almost complete automation. Additionally, they’re able to feed electricity back into the public power grid making their sustainability efforts a public benefit. Falling in line with trend, Milan’s data center touts being “zero-impact” by utilizing geothermal cooling, hydroelectricity, and solar electricity. A data center capable of producing its own power creates redundancy and independence which increases is reliance. Australia is following suit and has announced its plan to build the countries first data center “powered primarily from renewable energy sources” (Nott, 2018) to include a solar farm writes Computer World’s George Nott. This data center will be juxtaposed in the coal-mining town of Collie. By utilizing geothermal cooling to pump cold water up to cool and returning that now warmed air back to the ground the data center in Milan is able to reduce their environmental impact to near zero.

The future of data centers looks green. Moving forward, sustainability attempts include measures related to:

  • Solar
  • Biogas fuel cells
  • Battery storage
  • Providing energy back to the public grid
  • Wind
  • Magnets and magnetic components

Bibliography

Apple. (2018, April 10). Apple now globally powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Retrieved December 14, 2018, from Apple: https://www.apple.com/au/newsroom/2018/04/apple-now-globally-powered-by-100-percent-renewable-energy/

Nelson, P. (2017, October 18). First self-powered data center opens. Retrieved from Network World from IDG: https://www.networkworld.com/article/3233313/data-center/first-self-powered-data-center-opens.html

Nott, G. (2018, August 9). Solar powered data center proposed for Collie, WA. Retrieved December 14, 2018, from ComputerWorld from IDG: https://www.computerworld.com.au/article/645010/solar-powered-data-centre-proposed-collie-wa/

Ranger, S. (2018, February 2). Google builds out its data center estate, with added solar power. Retrieved from ZDNet: https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-builds-out-its-data-center-estate-with-added-solar-power/

Shalcklett, M. (2018, December 10). 8 emerging technology trends you can expect to see in 2019. Retrieved December 14, 2018, from TechReplublic: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/8-emerging-technology-trends-you-can-expect-to-see-in-2019/