Over the last two to three years, a lot of investment in the Middle-East was made by large hyperscalers such as Microsoft, AWS, Huawei and Alibaba.
So, where does the Middle-East stand in the worldwide push towards using moere renewable resources for energy-hungry consumers such as data centres? W.Media’s ‘Middle East Cloud and Data Center Market Insights 2021’ threw some light into the prevalent trends. The panellists included Hessam Seifi, MD, DC PRO BV, Tinboat Arslanouk, Senior Director- Data centre product management, du, Marco Brandstaetter, Regional Director, Middle East and South Asia, DE-CIX and Jim Campbell, Regional Director, RED Engineering
“There has been an effort to limit carbon emission. This is having a major impact on the design of data centres. What we are starting to see now is there is much more focus on where the energy is coming from in the data centre and use more renewable energy to run large campuses”, said Jim Campbell.
He further added that there is a lot of work going on to see the utilisation of hydrogen as a replacement for diesel generators. It is a huge capital investment but in the future, the clients could demand to use these technologies.
The good thing about countries like the Middle East is they have already invested a lot in green energy infrastructure. A lot has been invested in solar power plants.
“Currently it is difficult for green hydrogen technology due to the cost of it but over time things will change. Solar energy for example is now affordable. Hyperscalers are trying different technologies and what will eventually help the industry is that we have different technology paths to reach for example carbon natural or carbon negative,” pointed out Hessam Seifi.
Tinboat Arslanouk stated that the environment is the key focus when talking to the clients; they also want to focus on sustainability and decide accordingly. Nuclear power is a government project and is not for data centres.
We need a bridge into the carbon trading platform. In the UAE, in the near future, about 35 percent of its demand will be green electricity and has to be put in the marketplace (through grid connections) and some regulations are needed within the region. Having a tradable carbon footprint could be beneficial across GCC which will also generate investments.
Investment in DCs post COVID-19
In the last 18 months, the global demand for DC’s has doubled. The pandemic has accelerated that. “People are going to have a more flexible work atmosphere in the future. People would be working from home or overseas.
It has helped everyone focus their minds to help in developing an infrastructure that suits the requirement and everyone is planning for the future. People are looking to repurpose their office space to make it more of a cohabiting space rather than a fixed desk in an office,” said Campbell.
The pandemic has led to behavioral changes and people have started to use their time more efficiently.
Earlier the travelling used to take up a lot of time when people had to go for meetings but now meetings can be conducted with people in different geographical locations, pointed Seifi.