The Data Center Paradox: Balancing the Need to Scale vs Sustainability

Life in the global pandemic has transformed the way we conduct business. While brick and mortar suffer – business in the cloud has skyrocketed. Virtual business meetings, online gaming, instant messaging, and doctor appointments via webcam video are just a few of the activities pushing data center operators to find ways to scale for more users and to meet the huge demand for more cloud applications and services.

Leading cloud providers and data centers are scrambling for new IT hardware designed to support these massive workloads. As reported in WIRED, analyst firms believe the huge demand for more cloud applications and services will more than likely increase as countries reopen following the pandemic. This is attributed to the trend in which companies that had already planned to shift more systems to the cloud are now accelerating these plans. To stay competitive, businesses must do this without losing focus on data center infrastructure that manages total cost of ownership (TCO) or compromising on performance or quality of service.

To compound the challenge of meeting massive demand for accessing applications in the cloud, businesses are under more pressure than ever to decrease their carbon footprint. As increasing amounts of data are funneled to the cloud, data centers contribute more towards greenhouse gas emissions. The latest research from The Shift Project uncovers the fact that data centers have contributed significantly in global warming potential (GWP) by emitting an increase of 450 million tons of CO2 since 2013.

Though data center operators have made great strides to improve the energy efficiency of data centers, much of the focus has been on operational energy efficiency and these efforts are no longer enough to respond to the massive data center growth and potentially dramatic environmental impact. read more

To learn more about the advantage of the Circular Data Center model, please take a look at these short overview videos: “The Case For Circular Data Centers: Redefining Lifetime Value” and “Returns That Outperform: The Advantages Of Circular Over Linear Models.”

A New Way of Thinking: Performance, TCO …and Sustainability

There is a better way to think about the economic and environmental value of data center equipment. Today, operators can maximize the lifetime value of their data center infrastructure, lower TCO, improve performance, and still achieve sustainability benefits by moving to a Circular Data Center model.

A Circular Data Center approach starts with the idea of keeping assets in their highest utility for as long as possible. This circular thinking is fundamental to a design model that considers the lifetime IT hardware beyond the primary use and utility of hyperscale systems and infrastructure. This approach creates infinite possibilities for subsequent applications, new use cases and the creation of second lives for technology where recycling becomes the last alternative.

Cascading hyperscale hardware into these multiple loops of life opens up compelling design approaches and business models. For example, entire server racks can be recertified, engineered for common workloads and designed for ease of use and broad deployment. This new way of thinking also defers a tremendous amount of new manufacturing activity, and all of the associated cost and carbon impact. And that isn’t the only sustainability potential it unlocks innovative ideas, like implementing more efficient configurations that allow for heat to be recaptured and returned to the grid as energy in facilities who appreciate both the financial and sustainability value of sustainable infrastructure.

The advantage of combining hyperscale design with the Circular Data Center results in a much lower total cost to operate. Because data centers are able to operate more efficiently, more of the input power and budget are converted to useful workload rather than spent on overheads such as cooling and power conversions. Data center operators are able to get the benefits to application performance and scale by maximizing input resources of all kinds.

This is not about being sustainable just because that is a better approach philosophically. The Circular Data Center model actually saves money, reduces complexity, increases performance, and raises service quality – plus it is more sustainable than approaches to date.

In this new way of thinking it is important to consider what happens before and after data center equipment is purchased. In the pre-use phase, there are costs that go into manufacturing, transporting, and gathering all the materials together, what is known as the embodied energy of a server or any piece of technology. In some cases, the embodied energy can be one half or three quarters of the total energy footprint that will be consumed before a data center operator even plugs a piece of equipment into the wall for the first time. During the operational phase, power and cooling is used while running workloads and operating systems. Finally, there is the post-use phase, where equipment must be decommissioned and responsibly disposed of.

Financial Growth or Sustainability – No Need to Choose

The benefits of the Circular Data Center model are truly transformative. Sesame by ITRenew rack-scale solutions represent this new way of thinking about data center hardware. They extend the lifetime value of your data center hardware sustainably as you scale to meet ever-increasing data and infrastructure demands. We work with all of our hyperscale partners, customers and the ecosystem to optimize the entire lifecycle of IT hardware and systems.

Sesame rack-scale solutions bring the hyperscale hardware used in the world’s largest data centers to the wider marketplace, including cloud service providers of all sizes, enterprises and industries around the world. Our circular principles and solutions give you access to the same technologies and opportunities as the big hyperscale players, while drastically lowering your TCO, from acquisition costs to operational spend, maintenance and integration.

With Sesame, there is no guesswork, no need for teams of designers and engineers. The systems are optimized for the most demanding workloads, developed to work with your critical applications and can be up & running within minutes after delivery.

To learn more about the advantage of the Circular Data Center model, don’t forget to check out these short overview videos: “The Case For Circular Data Centers: Redefining Lifetime Value” and “Returns That Outperform: The Advantages Of Circular Over Linear Models.”