23 June 2020

Sustainable business is smart business

Written by Adam Scully Chief Sales Officer

There’s a saying that goes, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. While I admit I’ve improvised the meaning of the original saying, in the world of data centres it rings true.

Data centres are massive consumers of energy as they house, power and cool immense amounts of hot and hungry IT equipment. Our reliance on technology continues to accelerate; Businesses are having to support increasingly distributed environments that are creating more data, relying on more connections which requires more physical infrastructure to store it and processing capacity to power and cool it.

The rise of cloud computing is undoubtedly the major catalyst for the digitalisation and transformation of organisations, and the reliance we place on the digital infrastructure that powers our personal and business lives. The more applications, workloads and physical IT infrastructure needed to power high density and high-performance environments, the more energy that’s consumed, resulting in more harmful carbon that’s released into the atmosphere.

If you do the math of just how much power is needed to fuel the digital economy, the numbers are staggering. It’s estimated that as much as 2% of the world’s energy usage comes from data centres, so sustainable data centre operations are no longer a nice to have in business – they’re essential. In fact, sustainability has become a core business strategy for companies of all sizes.

Sustainable business is smart business

As cloud deployments continue to scale, the need for flexible and connected infrastructure that can adjust, anticipate and respond to demand is critical. As more workloads shift to cloud, and inhouse physical IT footprint continues to decrease, the need for specialist colocation cloud data centres becomes compelling. Significantly lower costs and enhanced operational capacity has been reason enough for many to shut down their inhouse computer rooms and enterpise data centres, and consume computational power as a pay-as-you-go service. Cloud is ingrained in our everyday lives and, as such, the world needs cloud data centres.

Business sustainability is essential to the long-term prosperity of today’s businesses. Business leaders are essentially operating out of a fishbowl, where eveything they do is on display as social media allows this information to travel worldwide in seconds. This is seeing modern CEO’s incorporating broader sustainability principles into their everyday busines decisions.

So when we consider the challenge of business sustainabilty, just like the old nursey ryhme – we cant go around it, we cant go over it, we have to go through it - head on, with a sustainable plan of action.

A high performance environment that’s good for business, and the environment

The rise of hyperscale computing is attributed to the emergence of the digitisation of business. Spending millions of dollars to build and operate a data centre just isn’t financially viable for most, but importantly it’s not their priority if it’s not their core competency. As a result, data and the infrastructure it lives on, is starting to migrate out of IT closets and on-premise computer rooms, into hyperscale facilities, which are specifically designed to scale easily.

To support a unified, high performance IT environment, with power costs soaring and the expectation to go ‘green’ rising – this is where Power Utilisation Effectiveness (PUE) takes centre stage. PUE is a common metric that determines how efficiently a data centre uses power. It’s calculated by dividing the total amount of power entering a data centre by the power actually being used to run the computing infrastructure within it. Put simply, the lower the PUE, the less power is used to run your IT infrastructure and therefore, the lower the cost will be. This is good for your bottom line, and the environment.

At their core, sustainable data centres begin with how they are designed, engineered and ultimately operated. Renewable energy, carbon neutrality, and water and waste management are a fundamental part of NEXTDC’s foundations. More efficient data centres use less power and water, commodities which are a cost burden to business as prices rise. This means that every operational efficiency we introduce to the build and tuning of our data centres has a tangible bottom line benefit in terms of lower utility bills for customers.

While committing to finding innovative and effective solutions that serve to reduce the environmental footprint of data centres is seen by many within the industry as a challenge, it is possible.

No matter what disruptive technology is thrown into the mix and pushes us to evolve in our sustainable efforts, the operational and environmental sustainability of our data centres will continue to be a primary focus. NEXTDC is 100% dedicated to supporting the growth of the digital economy, so digital businesses can thrive. But importantly, we are committed to doing it in the most sustainable way, to ensure a healthy, resource rich future for the generations to come.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you leverage the sustainable investments we have made to help you achieve your sustainability objectives, get in touch.