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Adding renewable energy makes sense for data centers

By Max Burkhalter
December 12, 2014

Data centers consume enormous amounts of electricity on a daily basis. If the electricity demand of cloud storage providers were grouped together, the total amount would exceed all but six countries worldwide, according to Triple Pundit. Demand for data, and subsequently the demand for greater storage, shows no signs of slowing down. Data centers looking to stay cost effective in the long term should consider new strategies for keeping utility costs manageable. This overview of renewable energy use explores data centers from the top to the bottom of the industry, showcasing how IT teams can incorporate renewables into their own buildings.

Industry leaders act as renewable energy pioneers
The precedent for moving toward renewable energy in the data center has already been set by industry giants like Apple, Netflix and Google. Amazon was the recent convert to the industry's push for greener operations and more implementation of renewable power. After constant urging by Greenpeace, the online retailer announced that it will seek 100 percent sustainable operations in facilities that house its Amazon Web Services platform. Change in the data center industry often takes place from the top to the bottom - innovative upgrades for the data center historically become cheaper after larger companies have already bought into new products.

Access to renewables is limited in many markets
Giant data centers have numerous advantages when it comes to implementing renewable energy in their data centers, so this process is a natural choice for colocation facilities and corporate data centers. However, these strategies are always available to smaller data centers with less flexible budgets. For instance, companies with the resources to build their data centers overseas are able to develop facilities located in close proximity to wind farms or hydroelectric plants. This location advantage makes it much easier for a data center to find a consistent supply of renewable energy, said Data Center Knowledge.

Another issue holding back small-business data centers from implementing renewable energy systems is space considerations. Some facilities are so overpacked with equipment that adding new technology to their current layout would be impossible. In cases like these, IT teams can have success by thinking smarter and not harder. Utilizing inexpensive gear like fiber-to-Ethernet cables allows you to resolve space efficiency problems and create more room for renewable energy infrastructure.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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