Here's how data centres can be made more sustainable
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Here’s how data centres can be made more sustainable and environment friendly

Here’s how data centres can be made more sustainable and environment friendly

Tassos Peppas, regional director – Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia at Vertiv shares key solutions in achieving sustainable operations for data centres

Divsha Bhat
data centres

How do you see the growth of emerging technologies such as AI and IoT in the Middle East?

The Middle East is the second largest region on the global internet of things (IoT) market, projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27.5 per cent during the forecast period. It is estimated that the global market will grow from $544.38bn in 2022 to $3,352.97bn by 2030.

There are several smart city initiatives being taken in the Middle East, especially as demand for technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing.

In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, governments and businesses across the Middle East are making sure that they implement the right technology solutions to fulfill this demand. The growth of these technologies has been truly remarkable and they are driving digital transformation in various sectors.

Organisations in the region are recognising the potential of AI and IoT to enhance operational efficiency, improve customer experiences and drive innovation. The region’s governments and businesses are actively investing in these technologies to harness their benefits and stay competitive in the global landscape.

How are these technologies revolutionising the way critical infrastructure operates? Can you share some examples?

Artificial intelligence and IoT are revolutionising the way critical infrastructure operate by enabling intelligent, data-driven decision-making and real-time monitoring. These technologies are being applied to several industries in the region.

For example, in the energy sector, AI algorithms and IoT sensors can optimise power generation, distribution and consumption, leading to improved efficiency and reduced downtime.

In the transportation sector, IoT connectivity and AI-powered analytics can enhance traffic management, enable predictive maintenance of infrastructure, and improve overall safety.

Financial companies are using AI to detect fraud and anomalies. These technologies also play a crucial role in smart cities, where they enable efficient management of utilities, public safety systems, and infrastructure.

According to McKinsey report, it is highlighted that AI expands the potential for energy savings across the grid, by its “ability to analyse large amounts of data related to traffic patterns, real-time demand, and availability of network resources, enabling fast, automated decisions about which parts of the system can be put into sleep or shutdown mode.”

The report also points out that AI-powered energy conservation tools can generate operational savings of 5-7 per cent and reduce energy cost by 5 per cent by continuous automatic calibration of chillers, pumps and fans.

However, AI not only brings benefits to the energy management of data centres, but by processing large volumes of data in real time it allows for detection of failures, prediction of blackouts and facilitates technical intervention. This makes it a key element to guarantee the operational continuity of the infrastructure.

How can data centres be made more sustainable and environment friendly?

Data centres are essential to many industries but they are a pure energy consumer. However, there are several ways to make data centres more energy efficient and reduce their environmental impact. They can be made more sustainable through different strategies such as utilising freecooling thermal management technologies as well as eco-modes functions for UPS systems and smart energy management systems.

Meanwhile, not only do data centres consume energy but generate heat as well. Efficient cooling systems are needed to keep the temperatures at optimum. The need for air-conditioning and chillers can be reduced if not eliminated by utilising natural elements. For example, in cooler areas, cold air, water evaporation or thermal reservoirs for cooling.

Free cooling, which reduce power consumption and minimise the environmental impact. Another strategy is implementing renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, to power data centres.

Additionally, data centres can adopt energy management systems that monitor and optimise energy usage, ensuring resources are utilised efficiently. Efficient server utilisation, virtualisation and recycling and responsible disposal of e-waste are other essential aspects of sustainable data centres operations.

Lastly, data centre operators can value engineer critical power systems to eliminate component level redundancies that help reduce costs and increase system efficiencies.

What are the key challenges and solutions in achieving sustainable operations for data centres?

The key challenges in achieving sustainable operations for data centres include high energy consumption, carbon emissions, and limited availability of renewable energy sources.

To address these challenges, data centres can focus on improving energy efficiency through equipment optimisation, efficient and lean cooling systems, and intelligent workload management.

The deployment of renewable energy sources and power purchase agreements with renewable energy providers can help reduce carbon footprints. Implementing efficient waste management and recycling programs, as well as adopting environmentally friendly practices throughout the data centre lifecycle, are also vital for more sustainable operations.

Tell us about Vertiv. How do your harness the emerging technologies to enable intelligent infrastructure management?

Vertiv is a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions. We harness emerging technologies such as AI and IoT to enable intelligent infrastructure management, offering our customers enhanced visibility, efficiency and reliability.

Through our suite of intelligent infrastructure solutions, we leverage AI to optimise power and cooling systems, monitor and analyse data centres operations in real-time, and enable predictive maintenance to minimise downtime.

Our IoT-enabled infrastructure management solutions enable remote monitoring and management, ensuring proactive identification and resolution of potential issues.

By harnessing these emerging technologies, Vertiv empowers organisations to unlock the full potential of their critical infrastructure, enhance performance, and achieve business objectives.

Tassos Peppas is the regional director – Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia at Vertiv

Also read: The growth of data centres in the Middle East

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