How green is your data center?

Article by Jayabalan Subramanian

To begin with let us try to understand what a ‘green’ data center is all about. A data center where the entire infrastructure – construction, lighting, mechanical, electrical and IT systems – is designed to ensure maximum energy efficiency and a minimum impact on the environment is termed as a Green Data Center. This means that from using low-emission building materials, to recycling waste and to using alternate energy sources as far as possible, a green data center must look at reducing its carbon footprint from a 360° perspective.

While this may seem a tall order and a cost-intensive exercise, the long-term benefits are multiple. Typically internet data center costs are centered on three factors: energy costs, procurement costs and maintenance costs. A viable, green data center will help you reduce all the three types of cost over a period of time. In addition, green data centers don’t just save energy; they also reduce the need for expensive infrastructure upgrades to deal with increased power and cooling demands.

If you are an organization seeking to take the next step and serious about minimizing your data center’s impact on the environment, the first steps would read something like this:

  1. Understand the data center infrastructure and its components
  2. Understand and measure the costs associated with energy, procurement and maintenance
  3. Deconstruct the infrastructure components and find alternate solutions
  4. Make a step-by-step plan to ‘greening’ the data center
  5. Understand how the change will impact the costs and the environment

So ask yourself, ‘How green is your data center, really’. Because, not only is it important from a business perspective, it is also an environmental imperative today. Most organizations stop at the planning stage. By translating it into reality not only will you set a precedent, it is a move that is more than it’s worth when made.