The Green Data Center – What Goes into Going Green

More and more of today’s data centers are pushing to become more efficient.  Don’t confuse a green data center with those that are only operating more efficiently. While there is no clear definition of what constitutes a green data center from an efficient one, but there are some accepted general concepts. For example, a green facility is a facility that uses limited resources in terms of energy, materials and water. These facilities operate with less of an impact on the environment. Therefore, they often earn certification, etc., lending credit to their green status.

The Green Data Center

Today’s computing environment is all about utilizing the maximum equipment potential while making the smallest carbon footprint. That is why more data centers are trying to implement sustainable operations and infrastructure. Unfortunately, a true sustainable building in the data center industry is fairly rare. This is because it is virtually impossible for a data center to achieve 100-percent sustainability. That being said, any level of sustainability achieved is a vast improvement from past data center designs.

Reasons to Revamp and Go Green

When a company decides to partner with a green data center, it is doing so for its own benefit as well as that of the environment. The main reason many choose to go green is for the cost savings. More energy efficient practices will save customers money over time. Thus, it is important that the company must consider its overall bottom line to ensure that going green is in its financial best interest. There is a lot of scrutiny surrounding green data centers. When data center customers are considering a green data center partner, they will need to consider the following:

  • Functionality and Availability – Does the facility have less capacity than traditional data centers? Is the infrastructure of the data center more susceptible to downtimes and outages?
  • Costs- Will the green facility be costlier than regular facility, and by how much?
  • New Technology – Since greener facilities will implement new technology, how thoroughly tested was it prior to installation? Will your own technical staff still be able to manage server equipment you have housed at the facility? Will there need to be additional staff on hand? Will you have to rely on data center staff for issues, and will that cost you more?

Even with a green data center, companies still need to assess other issues. These include security protocols in place, redundancy and reliability of the power and network infrastructures, and so on. Partnering with a green facility will do no good if it can’t provide those basic data center services.

Shrinking Resource Availability

All users are aware of the limited resources available to power more traditional data centers. This is why more data centers are opting for greener facilities. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated in 2007 that power usage would double from what it had been the prior six years. By 2020, the EPA estimates that power consumption will be around 104 billion kilowatts per hour.  Data centers are a part of that, and most will be implementing energy efficient practices to keep costs down.

Green data centers can be just as reliable as traditional data centers. The only issue is whether or not the green facility has cut any day-to-day measures to meet green standards.

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