Industry talking to customers What's this? Struggling to meet your organization’s sustainability goals? Published: December 6th, 2020 By: Steve Proctor Data centres around the world are consuming energy at an unsustainable rate. At our current pace, this consumption is expected to double in about two decades.To help address concerns over energy use by data centres, Schneider Electric has partnered with some of the world’s largest data centres over the past ten years to reduce power loss and boost efficiency by 80 per cent. The company was prompted to develop new solutions with the goal to becoming part of the effort to create a more sustainable future.By digitizing the world’s needs for more data processing and storage, organizations can also make an environmental impact.More data processing, storage, and environmental impactWhile the tech sector has introduced innovations that have improved society, it’s also come under fire from customers, environmental groups, and even investors over its sky-high energy consumption levels. Now, leading players are looking at how edge computing can be leveraged to create more sustainable solutions.“As we look at our increased usage of and demand for connected devices, in the places where we live, work and play, we’re expecting that at our current pace the energy consumption of data centres will double by 2040,” said David O’Reilly, vice president and general manager of the secure power division at Schneider Electric Canada. “A lot of this is driven by distributed IT equipment at the edge, so we can’t keep going at this consumption rate.”Cloud is not going anywhereAlthough enthusiasm for edge computing is growing, there will always be a need for centralized cloud storage.The next-gen cloud-based DCIM Software-as-a-Service industry, for instance, has grown rapidly in popularity to the point that 86 per cent of businesses are expected to rely on it for their software needs by 2022. This is especially the case when it comes to archiving data over a long-term period.The information and communications technology (ICT) space now makes up over 2 per cent of global emissions. If some sustainability specialists’ projections prove to be correct, ICT could account for more than 20 per cent of the world’s total electricity use in about thirteen years.Between 2010 and 2018, the amount of computing done within data centres increased five-fold. Meanwhile, the energy consumption by data centres around the world during that same period increased by 6 per cent. This suggests that the ICT industry has had some success in being more sustainable. The data centre sector has made advancements in pushing for sustainability in regional and centralized data centre environments.For example, ten to fifteen years ago, a standard data centre had a power usage effectiveness (PUE) tally of ~1.8. Now with advances across the industry, such as better data centre design and uninterruptible power supplies like those offered by Schneider Electric, a standard data centre can reach a PUE of 1.17. PUE refers to a ratio that gauges how data centres consume energy. Uninterruptible power supply systems are essential to ensure continuous power during a power outage to avoid any downtime for customers.There are no limits when it comes to human innovation, but there is a ceiling when it comes to resources and costs needed to make them a reality.Edge data centres have attempted to address this issue by supplying data-processing capacity to data generation and delivery points. And as more edge data centres are formed, there will be a heightened need to roll out scalable tools that encourage sustainability. Part of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Data Centre Solutions relies on an on-site, modular IT room that provides the ability to customize shape and size in order to fit the configuration needed.Don’t forget securityWhen it comes to edge data centres, there is also a critical need to focus on security. This is even more important as cyber criminals have become more aggressive since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The key to ensuring this security is to carefully monitor data centres. The EcoStruxure IT Expert is a cyber-secure vendor-neutral and cloud-based monitoring software solution that allows organizations to manage alarms, maintain uptime, and check the status of physical infrastructure equipment, whether onsite or remote.There are also more approaches for keeping data centres secure from hackers. These include perimeter security, or safeguarding access courtesy of access control, and patching cycles, which automates the patching process to ensure devices are always up-to-date.A further critical element of data centre security is to ensure the encrypted transfer of information between shared or public networks. One of the most effective strategies is to employ virtual private networks (VPNs) that rely on IKEv2 or L2TP protocols for encryption to shield data from cyber criminals. VPNs that use PPTP encryption protocols should be avoided for data centres, as they are not as secure as IKEv2 or L2TP.Innovative opportunitiesMore sustainable edge data centres can help with your organization’s energy consumption, UPS, modular, or monitoring requirements. The range of innovative products from Schneider Electric are uniquely designed for data centres and edge data centres.If you’d like to further explore how Schneider Electric continues to innovate and lead the edge computing industry, visit https://www.apc.com/ca/en/solutions/business-solutions/edge-computing/ to learn more.