The demand of data centres has seen a surge in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Industry watchers opine that in the next five to ten years the data centre is expected to expand in two phases: the internal and the external demand, with the help of data centres, the management and storage of data for organisations becomes much easier.
“Data centres will divulge into a multi-tier architecture where there will not be too many huge data centres where it will become something like channel model which is there where you have a primary data centre then you have a secondary data centre which is a toned down version then you will have a tertiary data centre.
There will be a main data centre then there will be near edge data centres and then there will be edge centres”, said Dhaval Pandya, CIO, Piramal Enterprises Limited
He further underlined that with other players of the data centre market coming to India, like CDNs and other OTT platforms. They will demand an increased data centre bandwidth available to support them.
It is also believed that data centres are one of the largest contributors to the greenhouse effect and with new data centre players coming into the market they are considering switching to renewable sources of energy.
“Most data centres have already started exploring multiple modes of energy because data centres tend to be one of the largest contributors to the greenhouse effect. So most definitely, they will have to look at renewable energy. And they will have to look at renewable energy which can be driven at scale”, Pandya added.
According to a report in Computer world, predictions state that the energy consumption by data centres is set to account for 3.2 percent of the total world’s carbon emission by the year 2025.
“This reliance on data centres is only going to grow as internet penetration rates improve across the world in locations where internet freedom is only just becoming widespread”, said Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy.com.
Decarbonising data centres needs a holistic approach
At W.Media’s Digital Week in South East Asia 2021, PS Lee, Deputy Executive Director at Energy Studies Institute, explored three key factors affecting the efficiency and carbon footprint of data centres, namely location, IT load, and energy efficiency.
A geographical location that experiences extreme temperatures will consume more energy as the data centre physical infrastructure system has to work harder to maintain consistent moderate temperature and humidity levels. The local source of power generation also has a major impact on the data centre’s carbon footprint.
Regarding IT load, it is the total power that all IT equipment in a data centre consumes, ranging from servers, routers, computer storage and networking, as well as the security system fire and monitoring system that protects them.
“The higher the IT load, the more power will be actually required to keep it up and to run in a higher carbon footprint,” Lee explained. “If you can start with operating the IT infrastructure more efficiently, then that would improve the overall energy consumption or reduce the carbon footprint.”
The traditional practices in data centres, which are oversizing the physical infrastructure to support the IT load, has a negative impact on the overall data centre efficiency. Lee underlined that it results in under-utilisations of equipment, such as servers plugged in 24 hours a day without fully utilised.
“It should be more of a holistic solution mix,” said PS Lee, Deputy Executive Director at Energy Studies Institute.