How green is your server room?

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Server rooms are, traditionally, the most uninviting of spaces – hot, airless and large, often taking up a vast amount of valuable floor space and generating massive amounts of energy just to keep equipment cool. 

Server rooms contain a surplus of electronic equipment, including servers and cabinets, communication equipment, cooling equipment and power equipment. What’s more, because they’re in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they use enormous amounts of energy and generate a lot of heat. Excessive energy usage contributes to carbon emissions, making sustainable targets almost impossible to achieve. So, exactly how green is your server room? 

The environmental facts

Server rooms are typically very environmentally unfriendly, guzzling energy and generating heat. As X Zhang wrote in a scientific report on data centres in 2017, energy consumption by cooling data centre IT equipment can account for more than 40% of total energy consumption. As such, efficient cooling for large data centres is essential for reducing operation costs.

In 2017, Jonathan Koomey, a California-based consultant and leading international expert on IT, surveyed with a colleague more than 16,000 office servers and found that about one-quarter of them were “zombies”, sucking up power without doing any useful work — perhaps because someone simply forgot to turn them off. “These are servers sitting around doing nothing except using electricity, and that’s outrageous,” Koomey said.

If server rooms continue as they are, you can expect to see the following:

  • By 2025, data centres in their current form will account for 3.2% of total worldwide carbon emissions. That number is expected to double every four years.  
  • By 2040, data storage is predicted to account for 14% of the world’s emissions. 

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Creating sustainable buildings

The built environment has a significant global environmental impact and is a contributor to climate change. Buildings are responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions and use approximately 40% of the world’s energy – therefore, environmentally friendly buildings are better for the bottom line, better for staff and clients and better for the planet.

In this environmentally friendly day and age, when business owners have a social conscience and staff are keen to work in sustainable, ecologically sound office environments, finding a way to negate excessive energy usage is more important than ever.

Many business owners are keen to acquire NABERS ratings, to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. NABERS is a sustainability rating for the built environment, much like the efficiency star ratings that you get on your fridge or washing machine. It covers:

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Indoor environment

The rating helps building owners to understand their building’s performance versus other similar buildings, providing a benchmark for progress.

So, how can you create a greener server room?

A simple and effective way to reduce energy consumption is with a micro data centre, which has the ability to:

  • Reduce the cooled area from an entire room / floor to the size of a single refrigerator
  • Match your cooling and energy efficiencies with your IT load at all times
  • Program units to shut down during non-productive times (weekends and holidays)

A Zella Pro is a stand-alone housing unit that replicates all of the cooling, security, power and monitoring capabilities of a traditional data centre on a much smaller, lower-cost scale. It miniaturises the data centre into the size of an average refrigerator, offering its own cooling and power capabilities, significantly reducing operational and energy costs by 30-60%, and on-premise IT footprint. Moreover, it allows for portability and can be moved from location to location and expanded to a set of “modular’’ data centres as a business grows.

How green is your server room? Zella DC will be able to help you find out. In 2021, Zella DC will be introducing an online calculator that will demonstrate how “green” your server room is. We look forward to sharing this with you! (subscribe to our newsletter below if you want to be notified). In the meantime, have a look at our energy use and cost calculator that will show you just how much money you'd be saving with a Zella Pro compared to a traditional on-premise server room. 

Get in touch if you'd like to find out how you can easily reduce your energy costs. 

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