DataCenterNews Asia Pacific logo
Specialist data center news for Asia Pacific
Story image

How you can improve data centre efficiency without dropping it in the sea

FYI, this story is more than a year old

While many organisations are mindful of the effects they could have on the environment, the biggest energy drain of any organisation is the usage of data centers. Many start-ups are claiming responsibility by taking steps towards reducing their carbon footprints, but to what extent are businesses taking the time to consider measures they can take to reduce wasted IT energy?

This issue was recently thrown back into the public spotlight when Microsoft announced it is trialling the use of a new shipping container-sized data center that it has sunk onto the sea bed, just off the coast of Scotland's Orkney Islands.

According to Microsoft, the main justifier for this was actually improving internet connectivity to coastal communities as the data used would have less of a distance to travel, leading to faster and smoother web surfing for its users.

However, as part of ‘Project Natick', as it has been dubbed, Microsoft has also acknowledged that data centers typically generate a lot of heat, and by placing them in the sea they will cool a lot faster. This would not only reduce energy usage and cut costs, it would also improve the longevity of the unit.

According to research from the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), data centers already consume over 3% of the world's total electricity and generate 2% of our planet's CO2 emissions. For context, that's the equivalent of the entire global aviation industry or a small city.

Many businesses, including the likes of Apple are starting to adopt the concept of a ‘green data center'. But there's still plenty of work that could – and more importantly should – take place.

For most businesses, taking our IT systems for a dip in the deep blue is not really a viable option. There are however a few easy and relatively cheap steps you can make today to reduce energy waste within your data center.

Using a containment system

Excessive heat is often the main culprit when it comes to power waste within data centers. It requires a lot of energy to keep systems cool, and often larger server rooms and data centers mix hot and cold air in order to keep them at the ideal temperature. This can however limit the capacity of the cooling system, which results in a power drain, and causes it to run less efficiently.

This can be resolved by fixing air tiles into the cold aisle of the system. Not only does this make the cooling more productive, it also raises return temperatures, allowing your computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units to operate more efficiently.

Of course, hot and cold aisle containment probably isn't practical for smaller server rooms and data centers, where space restrictions and increased costs make the option prohibitive.

Virtualise servers and storage

Within data centers you will often find a dedicated server for each application, which can be incredibly inefficient, for both energy use and budget.

With virtualisation, you can share servers and storage onto one shared platform, whilst still maintaining a level of segregation between data, operating systems and applications.

This runs more efficiently, saves space, and reduces the number of power consuming servers, which is great for cost and for reducing energy waste.

Turn off idle IT equipment

It might seem obvious, but leaving equipment on idle uses more energy than you think. IT systems are often used far less than capacity allows. Servers for instance tend to only be around 5-15% utilised, for PC's 10-20%.

When these systems are left on but unused, they still consume a large amount of the power needed to keep them running at full capacity.

To remedy this, it's important to make an assessment of the equipment used, how often it is used, and whether it could benefit from being powered down during quieter periods of its use.  It may be a relatively minor action, but it's the cheapest and easiest way to save energy and it can be actioned today.

Move to a more energy efficient UPS system

At the heart of most data centers lies its uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system, an electrical unit which is used to support critical mainstream IT and communications infrastructures when mains power fails or supply is inconsistent.

Previously these units were part of the energy consumption problem. These large, standalone towers used older technology that could only achieve optimised efficiency when carrying heavy loads of 80-90%.

Such fixed-capacity units often tended to be oversized during initial installation to provide the necessary redundancy, meaning they regularly ran inefficiently at lower loads, wasting huge amounts of energy. These sizeable towers also pumped out plenty of heat so needed lots of energy-intensive cooling.

However, the technology has developed rapidly in recent years, and now your UPS system could be part of the solution.

Just as cooling equipment has improved, so too has UPS technology. Modular systems – which replace sizable standalone units with compact individual rack-mount style power modules paralleled together to provide capacity and redundancy – deliver performance efficiency, scalability, and ‘smart' interconnectivity far beyond the capabilities of their predecessors.

The modular approach ensures capacity corresponds closely to the data center's load requirements, removing the risk of oversizing and reducing day-to-day power consumption, cutting both energy bills and the site's carbon footprint. It also gives facilities managers the flexibility to add extra power modules in whenever the need arises, minimising the initial investment while offering the in-built scalability to “pay as you grow”.

If cutting carbon costs and reducing energy consumption within your data center is at the top of your agenda, these small adjustments can be made quickly and with relatively minimal cost. Therefore, you could see your IT energy wastage drastically improve so there is no need to sink your data center just yet.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Network Management
Data is growing at breakneck speed, but are we optimising its value?
Data lies at the heart of digital transformation, as every digital touchpoint translates to a data point. In this digital-first world, data is being created everywhere today – at breakneck speeds.
Story image
Data Protection
Cloudflare brings Data Localisation Suite to more APAC businesses
This allows any business in these countries to service their data locally while benefiting from the speed, security, and scalability of Cloudflare’s global network.
Story image
Data Centre Cooling
The world is heating up, but data centres should keep their cool
With the world heating up, the challenge of keeping data centres cool becomes more complex, expensive and power intensive.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ASUS Servers announce AI developments at NVIDIA GTC
The Taiwanese multinational now offers NVIDIA-certified servers with H100 Tensor Core GPU and AI enterprise software suite.
Story image
Sustainable IT
Equinix partners NUS to use hydrogen tech in data centres
The partners will develop hydrogen fuel technologies for green data centres in tropical climates, and for use in Equinix’s global network.
Story image
IT Automation
Juniper Networks announces expansion of Apstra Software with Apstra Freeform
The newly announced Apstra Freeform technology will give customers the ability to manage and automate operations for data centers regardless of the architecture.
Story image
Honeywell launches Data Center Suite for business outcomes
Honeywell has launched its Data Center Suite, a portfolio of outcome-based software offerings to help data centre managers and owners.
Story image
SoftIron announces its newest flagship offering, HyperCloud
SoftIron has announced HyperCloud, the world's first full turnkey, completely integrated and supported Intelligent Cloud Fabric and the company's newest flagship offering.
Story image
Network Infrastructure
Vertiv launches solutions to better manage edge computing
Vertiv has introduced new power and cooling solutions for the edge of the network, including the addition of lithium-ion models to a leading on-line UPS family.
Aws Marketplace
Learn how to implement a backup and recovery plan for a new generation of Kubernetes-based modern applications
Link image
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
DCI Data Centers breaks ground on AKL02 center
DCI Data Centers has commenced construction on Auckland's largest data center.
Story image
Digital Transformation
NTT launches its Cyberjaya 6 data center in Malaysia
NTT expands its hyperscaler footprint in Malaysia with its sixth data center facility, supporting the growing digital economy.
Story image
Edge Computing
NTT launches Edge-as-a-Service to accelerate automation
"Minimum latency, maximum processing power, and global coverage are exactly what enterprises need to accelerate their digital transformation journeys.”
Story image
Worldwide 5G mobile data traffic exploding - report
"With 5G, there is a wider range of deployment scenarios, forcing vendors to provide comprehensive solutions to support every need."
Story image
Data center
Australia’s data centre pioneer still leading after 22 years
We look at the fascinating success of Macquarie data centre's over its 22 year life span and how they continue to innovate in a highly contested sector.
Story image
Zetaris is changing the way we think about data virtualisation
Zetaris was launched on the Microsoft Marketplace and Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace in Australia in 2020 and has since expanded into nine global markets.
Story image
Growth in hyperscale data centres to increase shortage of IT workers
New Zealand's tech worker capacity is set to come under increasing pressure as the number of hyperscale data centres grows.
Story image
ManageEngine unveils SaaS availability of Analytics Plus
ManageEngine's Analytics Plus is now available as a software as a service (SaaS) offering, enabling users to set up a completely functional and integrated analytics platform anywhere in under a minute.
Story image
InterSystems releases updates to its IRIS data platform
Provider of next-generation solutions InterSystems has announced a series of new releases to its award-winning InterSystems IRIS data platform.
Story image
Data center
Macquarie Asset Management acquires stake in ST Telemedias VIRTUS Data Centres
"We will further strengthen VIRTUS' focus on sustainability by backing investment in its technology and enhancing the lifecycle management of its equipment."
Story image
NCS, FPT Software launch Strategic Delivery Centre in Vietnam
The new partnership is designed to support increasing demand for high quality digital services across the region.
Story image
Talend announces support for Amazon Redshift Serverless
Talend has announced its support for Amazon Redshift Serverless, with the company saying the integration reinforces its commitment and leadership in supporting businesses.
Story image
Fortinet unveils compact firewall for hyperscale data centres, 5G networks
"Fortinet’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in security performance has yielded the most powerful compact firewall yet."
Story image
Stellar financial result after major strategic moves by Superloop
We get a glimpse under the hood at the financial results from 2022 for the connectivity giant Superloop.
Story image
Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud to open first cloud region in NZ - among others
Google Cloud has announced plans to bring three new cloud regions, one each in New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand.
Story image
Equinix invests $23m to expand ME2 data centre in Melbourne
Equinix has completed the second phase expansion of its ME2 International Business Exchange data centre, located in Port Melbourne.
Story image
SnapLogic named Visionary in two Magic Quadrant categories
SnapLogic has announced that it is the only iPaaS (Integrated Platform as a Service) vendor to be named a Visionary in two Magic Quadrant categories.
Story image
Data Centre Maintenance / Management
Schneider Electric backs new Leading Edge data centre in Australia
As a result of the new project, regional Australian businesses and communities will likely have greater access to distributed cloud networks.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Nanyang Technological University Singapore builds digital brand presence
Leveraging the customisation features of Sitefinity DX, non-technical users could upload content and create design pages and boost work productivity. 
Story image
Seagate announces next gen advanced storage arrays
The new Exos X systems feature up to twice the performance of the previous generation and enhanced enterprise-class durability, the company states.
Story image
Optical Networking
NEC predicts AON as a next-generation infrastructure
NEC's open optical transmission devices support multi-vendor configurations, allowing customers to procure and combine equipment from multiple vendors.
Story image
Cloudera launches all-in-one data lakehouse cloud service
CDP One makes it faster, easier and less risky for businesses to move to the cloud and migrate existing workloads to a modern data architecture.
Story image
Data analytics
Srisawan Hospital to enhance patient experience with InterSystems TrakCare
The new Srisawan Hospital in Bangkok has chosen InterSystems TrakCare to help create enhanced patient experiences and promote further digital engagement.
Story image
Sustainable IT
Empyrion DC announces 40MW green data center in South Korea
Empyrion DC has announced it is developing a 40MW green data center in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea (GDC).
Story image
VMware advances multi-cloud management with VMware Aria
Managing apps and infrastructure in a multi-cloud, especially public cloud, and multi-technology environment is complex.
Story image
Data Protection
iseek secures Queensland Government data centre contract
iseek secures the Queensland Government's core network data centre as-a-service contract after a competitive procurement process undertaken by the CITEC.
Story image
Software Defined Wide Area Network
Axiata, Versa Networks partner for enterprise SASE in Asia
Axiata has partnered with Versa Networks to deliver Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) technology to rapidly digitalising Asian enterprises.
Story image
Sustainable IT
New report calls for tighter guidelines on data centre sustainability
A new Cushman & Wakefield report is calling for water consumption and carbon emissions to be measured in addition to power usage.
Story image
DCI plans to build new cloud edge data centre in Canberra
DCI is one of the first to commit to the Precinct which has a focus on defence, space, cybersecurity and high-tech manufacturing sectors.
Story image
Machine learning
Oracle announces MySQL HeatWave for Amazon Web Services
MySQL HeatWave is a service that combines OLTP, analytics, machine learning, and machine learning-based automation. 
Story image
VMware extends collaboration with Microsoft for enterprise workloads in Azure
Mutual customers will have the choice to purchase Azure VMware Solution through the VMware Cloud Universal program.