Data centers shape our futures, but they aren’t immune to influences from the people and companies that will affect them either. In many ways, corporate calls for sustainability across their organization invariably impact how they carry out operations and who they partner with. There’s no better way to illustrate this idea than to examine how stakeholding companies’ urging for energy efficiency and sustainability highlights the need to re-evaluate the role of data centers moving forward. Of course, this draws attention to some major opportunities and challenges.
Sustainability as a Criteria for Partnership
Think about how the average consumer makes the conscious decision to purchase products and services from brands with missions they support. For these consumers, their dollars spent indicate to their community how much they identify with the company’s goals. Now, take this concept and apply it to companies looking for data centers to partner with. Companies are certainly more likely to choose data centers or enact sustainable measures at their company-owned center. They know this conscious decision of who they strike a partnership with shows their community (i.e., clients, stakeholders) how much they stand by their sustainability mission. While sustainability initiatives create cost savings and benefit the environment, businesses also concern themselves with optics and brand identity.
Incentive for Commitment
Constructing and running sustainable data centers differ from most other energy-efficient commercial buildings given the specialization and critical nature of data services. Operators see the value of consuming less energy since lower operating costs improve profitability. However, some data center operators hesitate to take on sustainable changes they perceive as a risk to the power supply or server performance. This concern is understandable, yet it is also avoidable with today’s data center infrastructure management (DCIM) systems.
If installing these user-friendly tools isn’t enough incentive to commit to sustainable changes, there is another significant reason to invest: talent retainment. Similar to how consumers will support businesses they feel are committing to good, highly sought after employees will remain at companies that reflect positive community goals, including sustainability goals. In order to retain talent with the right skills and knowledge to further sustainable operations, companies need to prove they make energy-efficiency and renewable energy a top priority.
How Data Centers and Their Operators Take The Lead
Companies can state they are committed to achieving sustainability goals, but data centers and their operators must lead the real action. Enterprises trust hyperscalers and colocation providers, even edge center managers, to adopt energy-efficient methods, use distributed energy resources, etc. Increasing efficiency requires the overall fine-tune data center operations. As such, it makes sense that corporate leaders delegate the task to providers with the direct ability and know-how to change.
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