DataCenterNews Asia logo
Specialist data center news for Asia
Story image

Opinion: Data centers must work closer with energy companies

By Ashton Young
Tue 10 Jul 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by IDG Connect senior staff writer Dan Swinhoe

Data centers need to be smarter about energy.

The global data center industry accounts for around 3 percent of all global electricity and emits approximately 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – on par with the aviation industry.

While energy efficiency in data centers and the servers they host has improved, the growth in the ‘data economy’ means that energy footprint is still growing at a steady pace.

But as energy grids come under increasing strain, data centers need to introduce sustainability both in terms of how energy is sourced and reused.

Data center energy requirements rising, energy grids can’t keep up

In the last decade, the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of data centers has gone from 1.84 in 2007 to 1.17 in 2018.

But the 'low hanging fruits’ of data center efficiency are gone, according to Kevin Brown, Schneider Electric’s Senior Vice President of Innovation, and “society will not take data centers taking up a growing amount of energy”.

This could pose a problem, as the number and size of data centers is predicted to grow, as are the workloads they house.

A recent survey by DataCenter Knowledge suggests new datacenter construction will grow more than five times over the next three years, while Cisco predicts the number of ‘hyperscale’ sites will double between 2016 and 2021.

Edge computing will see the number of edge/micro-data centers increase, while inside growth in energy-hungry hardware such as cryptocurrency-miners and GPUs for AI applications could also push up energy requirements.

This growth threatens to overload already burdened energy grids. Power failures are already a common cause for outages, and have caused problems for the likes of OVH, AWS, and Global Switch recently.

“Cities, capitals in Europe, are running out of power,” says Gisle M. Eckhoff, CEO of DigiPlex.

The Dutch Data Center Association (DDA) recently warned the Netherlands’ government that limitations of the country’s power grid is inhibiting data center growth, while Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board has said meeting the infrastructure demand in Dublin due to “power-hungry data centers” is a ‘principal risk’ for the company.

“In many countries, the power grids cannot keep up with data center growth, and finding solutions on how we use power grids will allow the industry to grow at a faster pace,” says Erik Rylander, Head of Open District Heating and Stockholm Data Parks, at Swedish energy company Stockholm Exergi.

Data centers working more closely with energy companies benefits everyone

To meet energy requirements, companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook plus data center giants such as Equinix and OVH are turning to renewables to help them power their data centers, whether by building new sites at locations nearer to viable locations or buying up entire output of wind and solar farms to power operations. But sometimes even that is not enough.

Some companies are also turning to on-site power generation to help fill any shortfall in the local grid. Microsoft built its own 18 megawatt power station in Dublin because the local grid couldn’t meet demand and aims to power its Singapore data center with rooftop solar panels.

At its new Milan data center, Italy’s Aruba.it generates around 80 percent of its own power, and only buys green energy for the rest of its requirements. According to Aruba’s Marcin Zmaczyński, Marketing Manager, the company plans to acquire more power plants and get that figure up to 100 percent in the future.

Generating power onsite de-loads the power grid and saves data center operators money, but also offers opportunities to act as a supplier for local energy companies in times of need. Energy companies are keen to facilitate this kind of closer working relationship.

Nordic data center operator DigiPlex, for example, partnered with Stockholm Exergi and retrofitted its Stockholm data center to use excess heat to heat homes in the local area.

“Putting a price on the waste heat, bringing an economic incentive to become part of the circular economy, we believe that's the way forward,” says Stockholm Exergi’s Rylander.

Stockholm Exergi is currently reusing heat from around 30 data centers, accounting for 1 percent of the total heating needs of Stockholm. The company aims to reach 10 percent in the future.

E.ON is another energy company looking to redistribute waste heat. It’s new Ectogrid technology enables the distribution of heat and cooling to between homes, businesses, and large facilities such as data centers.

Beyond recycling heat, the continuing evolution in battery technology offers opportunities to make extra revenue for data center operators.

Schneider Electric’s Brown predicts large lithium-ion batteries will have the same capex as standby diesel generators by 2020. This switch to stored energy means data centers have an opportunity to not only draw and store power at times when energy is cheaper, but also have a more interactive relationship with the grid.

Contributing energy back into the grid from a data center’s batteries during an energy shortfall can earn the site €70,000 [$80,000] a year per megawatt, according to Stockholm Exergi’s Rylander.

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar can often create a surplus of energy generation and having the ability to absorb energy back into a datacenter’s batteries during such periods can earn companies up to €200,000 [$200,000] per year per megawatt.

“There are so many unutilized assets sitting in the datacenter today that could be used somehow for the good of all parties,” says Rylander. “There is money to be made from the assets that you already have in your data center.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Macquarie Data Centres
Macquarie deal to pioneer CO2-cutting data centre tech in Australia
Macquarie Data Centres has signed a multi-year deal with ResetData, an Australian first provider using Submer data centre technology. 
Story image
Migration
SNP unveils next generation of CrystalBridge software platform
Data is a key pillar of every customer-centric organisation, as it relies on agile decisions to become increasingly sustainable and intelligent.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
HPE GreenLake advances hybrid cloud experience with new services
"The innovations unveiled today further build on our vision to provide the market with an unmatched platform to spur innovation and drive transformation.”
Story image
Sustainability
Evolution Data Centres reveals target of 20 tonnes of CO2 per GWh
Evolution Data Centres launches their new Sustainable Data Centre Charter, which includes targets like only 20 tonnes of carbon emissions per GWh by 2030.
Story image
Sisense
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Sustainability
Intel unveils new investments for data center sustainability
Intel has announced two new investments, continuing its efforts to create more sustainable data center technology.
Story image
Infrastructure
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure expands distributed cloud services
“Distributed cloud is the next evolution of cloud computing, and provides customers with more flexibility and control in how they deploy cloud resources."
Story image
Infrastructure
SolarWinds IT Trends Report highlights increased cloud complexity for businesses
SolarWinds' new IT Trends report has signalled a significant shift in the way businesses are dealing with hybrid cloud and infrastructure.
Story image
CASB
Juniper expands SASE offering with data loss prevention capabilities
Juniper has announced the expansion of its SASE offering with the addition of cloud access security broker (CASB) and data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities.
Story image
Cloud
Boomi surpasses 20,000 customers. Sets record for the iPaaS space
Boomi has announced it has surpassed the 20,000 customer mark, setting the record for the largest customer base among iPaaS vendors.
Story image
Cloud
SnapLogic improves Intelligent Integration Platform
SnapLogic has released new features and improvements to its Intelligent Integration Platform, which will allow IT, data and business teams to make select processes faster and more straightforward.
Story image
Sydney
Equinix and PGIM Real Estate open data centre in Sydney
Equinix and PGIM Real Estate, the real estate investment and financing arm of PGIM, have announced the first xScale data centre in Sydney, named SY9x.
Story image
Cloud
Cisco Live showcases new offerings in its first hybrid event
Cisco Live 2022 has seen Cisco executives and customers take the stage to present a range of discussions in the company’s first-ever hybrid event.
Story image
Infosys
Preparing for the digital decade with the right workforce strategies
For a decade that started under the pall of the pandemic, the 2020s is poised to end with a bang with the digital economy swelling to a high across the world.
Story image
Infrastructure
Global investment in data centers more than doubled in 2021
DLA Piper's latest global survey finds the total investment in data center infrastructure worldwide rose from USD $24.4 billion in 2020 to USD $53.8 billion in 2021.
Story image
Public Cloud
Public cloud services revenues top $400 billion in 2021
"For the next several years, leading cloud providers will play a critical role in helping enterprises navigate the current storms of disruption."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Secureworks researches new threat to Elasticsearch databases
Researchers from Secureworks' Counter Threat Unit have identified indexes of multiple internet-facing Elasticsearch databases replaced with a ransom note.
Story image
Expansion
Colt Technology expands into South Korea data center market
Colt Technology Services has expanded its network into the South Korean market, offering the country’s businesses cost-effective, low latency connectivity.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft, Cloudian partnership offers data center flexibility
Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage platform is now integrated and validated to work with Microsoft SQ Server 2022, offering more flexible and scalable data centers.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The Huawei APAC conference kicks off with digital transformation
More than 1500 people from across APAC have gathered for the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress to explore the future of digital innovation.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Kaspersky opens three new centers to boost data management
Cybersecurity company Kaspersky has opened three new Transparency Centers, one in Japan, the second in Singapore and the third in the United States.
Story image
Partnerships
Thailand announces launch of the Thailand 5G Alliance
It will promote collaboration between the public and private sector, through companies such as Huawei, to commercially drive Thailand's 5G development.
Story image
Sustainability
Huawei unveils next-generation sustainable data centers
Huawei says its next-generation data centers will be powered by PowerPOD 3.0, which reduces the footprint by 40% and cuts the energy consumption by 70%.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Qualtrics goes live on AWS Cloud Infrastructure in Japan
Organisations across Japan will now be able to access the Qualtrics XM/OS platform locally via data centre in the AWS Asia Pacific (Tokyo) region.
Story image
Sustainability
Legrand unveils Nexpand, a data center cabinet platform
Legrand has unveiled a new data center cabinet platform, Nexpand, to offer the necessary scalability and future-proof architecture for digital transformation.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Micro Focus unveils Data Center Automation for SaaS delivery
MicroFocus has released Data Center Automation (DCA) for software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery, offering more cost-effective vulnerability risk and IT compliance management.
Story image
Sustainability
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
Cloud
QuSecure partners with DataBridge Sites to showcase platform
QuSecure has partnered with DataBridge Sites to showcase its Quantum-as-a-Service (QaaS) orchestration platform, QuProtect.
Story image
Sustainability
AirTrunk boosts Japan presence with West Tokyo data center
AirTrunk is planning to build TOK2, a new hyperscale data center in Japan which will strengthen the company’s presence in the country.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Databricks announces new offering for Unity Catalog
Databricks has significantly expanded data governance capabilities on the lakehouse by unveiling data lineage for Unity Catalog.
Story image
Cloud
Talend introduces new data health solutions for businesses
Talend has announced its latest version of Talend Data Fabric, with the release of Talend Trust Score enabling data teams to establish a foundation for data health.
Story image
Vietnam
Viettel IDC deploys Cloudian Hyperstore object storage for enhanced cloud solutions
Cloudian has announced that its Hyperstore object storage has been deployed by Vietnam telco Viettel IDC, citing the technology’s flexibility, multi-tenancy and ransomware protection as significant advantages.
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Healthcare
SnapLogic launches Accelerator for Amazon HealthLake
SnapLogic has launched Accelerator to allow healthcare and life sciences organisations to turn raw data into healthcare-related insights and actions.
Story image
Broadband
Singapore found to have the speediest internet rates in the world
New research from BanklessTimes has shown that Singapore has the highest recorded median internet speed in the world at 207.61 MBPS.
Story image
Sustainability
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Cloud
Cloudflare outage in 19 data centers worldwide due to own error
Cloudflare says its outage for 19 of its data centers yesterday was because of a change in a long-running project to increase resilience in its busiest locations.
Story image
Sustainability
Daikin and SP Group to build new energy efficient district cooling system
The project, set to be complete by 2025, will create a system with a cooling capacity of up to 36,000 refrigerant tonnes (RT). 
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cisco unveils new cloud-managed networking offerings
Cisco has announced new cloud management capabilities that offer a unified experience across the Cisco Meraki, Cisco Catalyst and Cisco Nexus portfolios.
Story image
Colocation
Digital Edge chooses Nortek’s StatePoint for new data center
Digital Edge will use Nortek's StatePoint liquid cooling technology in its new data center, the first commercial colocation operator in Asia to do so.
Story image
Microsoft
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Story image
Data Science
Neo4j announces service delivery alliance with Deloitte
Neo4j has announced a service delivery alliance with Deloitte Consulting Southeast Asia for a range of services to customers within the region.
Story image
Infrastructure
New Uptime analysis highlights worsening downtime costs and consequences
New data from Uptime Institute has found that downtime costs and consequences are worsening as those involved in data infrastructure fail to find ways to curb outages.