Page 16 - Respond 2022 Magazine
P. 16

The sustainability

          challenge for

          data centers

          Eduardo Marini, CEO, green4T

          How Brazil is promoting greener   As society becomes increasingly connected   expenditure of data centers is not kept under
          technology with smart IT          and reliant on technology we must ask   control. Having more than 70 data centers in
          infrastructure management and     ourselves: what are the impacts of global   operation, Ireland is considered the largest
          renewable energy investments.     digitalization on our environment? Will the   hub of this type of infrastructure in Europe.
                                            relentless growth of the digital economy   Electricity consumption for Ireland’s data
                                            – which by certain estimates will reach   centers may leap from the current 11% to
                                            25% of global GDP by 2025  – contribute or   29% of the local energy grid by 2028. 3
                                            undermine our goal of achieving net zero
                                            GHG emissions by mid-century?      The situation is likely to worsen as the
                                                                               digital transformation of society and
                                            Technology can affect – and has affected –   businesses speeds up. Last year, due
                                            the environment positively and negatively.   to the COVID-19 pandemic, the way we
                                            On the positive side, it has been used to   live, consume and work was completely
                                            monitor and reduce carbon emissions,   disrupted. Switching our activities online
                                            to optimize industrial processes for less   generated a staggering 64.2 zettabytes
                                            energy consumption and waste, to ease and   of data this according to a report by the
                                            cheapen access to information, and to drive   International Data Corporation (IDC). In five
                                            innovation in green technologies. Through   years, this number is expected to double. 4
                                            technology, we can reduce the carbon
                                            footprint of our transport, food, and products.   That's because predictions point to a
                                                                               meteoric rise in the use of technology
                                            However, on the negative side, with the   and innovation in all aspects of human
                                            rapid growth in ICT global electricity   life. By 2023, there will be 5 billion internet
                                            consumption has raised concerns over the   users; 29.3 billion devices connected to
                                            past few years. Consumption linked to ICT   the network; and 36.8 billion IoT sensors -
                                            is currently estimated between 5 to 9% of   the Internet of Things - in industry alone,
                                            the world’s total electricity demand, and   as Forbes magazine reported in 2020.   5
                                            with estimated growth rates ranging from   Consequently, investment in the data
                                            6 to 9% it is likely that such consumption   center market is growing: it represented
                                            will rise to over 20% by 2030, as reported   US$244.7 billion in 2019, according to
                                            in the article "On Global Electricity Usage   consulting firm Research and Markets.
                                            of Communication Technology: Trends to   Researchers forecast that this figure will get
                                            2030", by Anders Andrae and Tomas Edler. 2  closer to US$ 435 billion in four years.
                                            The logic is simple: as business and people's   Industry efforts to reduce the digital
                                            way of life become more digital, the greater   infrastructure carbon footprint are already a
                                            the need for digital infrastructure: consumer   reality. A survey by consulting firm Markets
                                            and enterprise devices, communication   and Markets indicates that the green data
                                            networks, and data centers. And even   center market will reach US$ 140.3 billion
                                            though our digital machinery is becoming   by 2026, with steady growth of 20% per
                                            more energy efficient, the sheer increase of   year.  Technology giants that work with
                                            IT and telecoms equipment to support our   hyperscale data processing have tested low
                                            ever-growing demand for data processing   environmental impact processing centers.
                                            and communication has trumped energy   To this end, they have taken data centers
                                            efficiency innovation in the sector,   underwater (in Europe's freezing North Sea)
                                            significantly increasing global ICT's power   and into deep caves. The goal is always to
                                            consumption.                       take advantage of the surrounding natural
                                                                               conditions to help cool the equipment
                                            The concern is backed up by reality. In   using less energy.
                                            June 2021, Ireland's national energy agency
                                            (EirGrid) issued a warning about the risk   However, the complexity of facilities such
                                            of extended power outages if the energy   as these has made CIOs wonder if there is
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