Energy consumption and efficiency, keys for the data center sector in 2023

The provider of continuity solutions and critical digital infrastructures vertiv has identified the data center industry trends for 2023. At a time when data centers will have to face more extensive regulation and supervision by third parties, the overall impact of data centers on the environment and population is one of those trends.

Data centers have to deal with increasingly strict regulations regarding energy and water consumption. According to various estimates, they are responsible for up to 3% of global electricity consumption, and will reach 4% by 2030. On average, a hyperscale installation consumes between 20 and 50 MW per year: the same as 37,000 homes. This, according to Vertiv, will lead to increased vigilance from authorities in 2023.

In fact, this is already happening in areas like Dublin in Ireland and Singapore. In both sites, measures have been taken to control the use of energy in data centers, and everything indicates that they will soon take them against water consumption, since a data center can consume 11 to 18 million liters of water per day, and this, especially in areas and times of drought, is problematic.

According to an Omdia survey, 99% of enterprise data center operators say that modular and prefabricated data center designs are part of their strategy for future data centers, as a new normal in their development. Vertiv sees that, in 2023, there will be a shift in the same direction among hyperscale vendors as they seek speed and efficiency of standardization.

The diesel generator has long been an essential piece for the operation of data centers, although imperfect. They require maintenance or fuel replacement when they are idle for a while, and they produce carbon emissions when they are running. As carriers try to avoid this, some organizations rely on batteries to support longer charges. In addition, they design data centers with generators of minimum capacity.

They are measures to reduce the role of the generator while the sector looks for other options to expand reserve power. From Vertiv they point out that in 2023 a preferred alternative will emerge: hydrogen fuel cells, which in principle will work as a generator, providing momentary support to the load, and over time they could be in charge of sustained, and even continuous, operation.

On the other hand, data center operators are increasingly asking for higher density cabinets, as rack density has increased rapidly in the last three years. Especially in the data centers of large and hyperscale companies. This is happening at the same time that server liquid cooling technologies are maturing. In parallel, server power consumption is rising as the need to add capacity rapidly increases.

This is a challenge for operators, who have no choice but to explore the limits of their installations by adding power in small spaces, increasing rack density and generating thermal profiles that require liquid cooling.

Karsten Winther, President of Vertiv EMEAhas highlighted on this that «in In recent years, sustainability has been the area of ​​greatest focus for the data center industry, and that aligns with the trend in 2023 of increased regulation by public authorities, as well as interest in energy sources. alternatives. As we move forward, data center owners and operators will need to choose an infrastructure solutions partner capable of advising them on best practices and technologies to help them meet their “net zero emissions” goals.”

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