Intelligent Data Centres Issue 33 | Page 41

EXPERT OPINION workloads . In the majority of conventional data centres , most energy is consumed through the cooling of servers and backups . Up to 40 % of electricity usage goes towards sustaining and operating a server below 26 degrees Celsius .
For this reason , Aruba ’ s Global Cloud Data Centre ( IT3 ) campus in Milan replaces traditional cooling solutions with a geothermal system that uses naturally occurring cold water underground . This system powers all air conditioning for the campus ’ data rooms , making it extremely energy efficient . The rack cabinets housing the servers are also equipped with an innovative cold air containment system which ensures maximum energy efficiency .
An increasing number of data centres are making the initial investment in innovative cooling solutions , with the aim of securing significant savings in the long term . For instance , by moving to natural cooling technology , Aberdeen University ( UK ), improved the power usage effectiveness of its data centre from 2.6 ( ranked inefficient ) to 1.15 ( ranked highly efficient ) and is now saving £ 100,000 per year . Considering that cooling UK data centres alone currently costs an estimated £ 4 – 7 billion per annum , the savings of switching to more efficient cooling systems across the board would be significant .
Committing to renewables
Maximising energy efficiency is just one side of the equation for data centres ; the other is sourcing electricity from low or zero-carbon sources . The significant investment required to rollout and run renewable energy projects has typically made many data centre operators hesitant to take the plunge . However , due to recent advances in technology , increased operational experience , longer project lifetimes and cheaper finance , the cost-per-unit of producing renewable energy has fallen precipitously over the past decade . Notably , the levelised cost of energy – which measures lifetime costs divided by energy production – for solar photovoltaic panels has fallen by 82 % ( 2010 – 2019 ).
As such , many data centre operators are now making the leap to self-generation . For instance , Aruba ’ s Global Cloud Data Centre – the largest , state-of-the-art data campus in Italy – has 60MW of renewable power production capacity onsite . Photovoltaic panels cover the surfaces of the buildings , alongside a purposebuilt hydroelectric plant . Where sufficient electricity cannot be generated onsite , it is www . intelligentdatacentres . com