February 16, 2023 | min

Sustainability and Your Datacentre: What Do You Need to Consider

Sammy Zoghlami, SVP EMEA at Nutanix

The energy and climate crisis, coupled with the ongoing focus on ESG programmes, are driving organisations to rethink every purchase, investment, and business decision they make. We (Nutanix) recently sponsored an in-depth report to help our customers better navigate these challenges and to gauge the potential impact of datacentre models on energy efficiency and carbon footprints.

As we come off the back of COP27, it is fitting to discuss how datacentres and digital infrastructures contribute to the global carbon footprint and reflect on the energy consumed. In a recent press statement we released around the report, I mentioned that in EMEA alone datacentres consume over 90TWh per year with an emissions level equivalent to roughly 5.9 million vehicles (27 million tonnes CO²e).

Those numbers are terrifying. So what should we be aware of, and how can we take steps to change how we think about procuring technologies without slowing down the progress we are making as a business? Here are some of the key findings highlighted in the report:

  • Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is seen as essential as automation, cooling systems and renewable energies in realising savings in datacentre energy consumption and carbon footprint reduction.
  • When compared to traditional 3-tier IT platforms, next-generation HCI architectures could potentially reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint by roughly 27% per year.
  • Across the EMEA region, HCI transformation has the potential to reduce energy consumption by 56.7 TWh and cut emissions by 14.2 million tonnes of CO²e over the period 2022-2025.
  • By 2025 a full changeover to HCI across UK datacentres could save 8.1 TWh of energy and 1.8 million tonnes of CO²e, roughly the same as taking 400,000 cars off the road.
  • By 2025 a full changeover to HCI across datacentres in the Middle East & Africa could save 4 TWh of energy and roughly 2.4 million tonnes of CO²e.
  • Large-scale co-location datacentres offer a much lower PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) factor than typical on-premises facilities. Switching these to HCI architectures could potentially boost energy saving towards 30-40%.
  • Next-generation co-location datacentres could provide access to renewable energy through long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and contribute to an organisation’s climate neutrality goal without investing in CO2 certificates.
  • Businesses planning the move towards an HCI architecture within their on-premises datacentres should also evaluate next-generation cooling technologies as energy prices rise.
  • The datacentre industry has delivered significant energy efficiency improvements over past decades and is now one of the most advanced in terms of both energy efficiency and decarbonisation. Nevertheless, future energy demand will rise substantially and will result in large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. Innovative technologies, like HCI, could create considerable efficiency potential and strongly impact energy cost savings.

If anything, these results showcase that the way we have approached deploying data centres to date has to change. We must embrace modern technologies as part of a roadmap to developing and designing energy efficient and climate-friendly IT infrastructure. A roadmap that Nutanix is deeply committed to helping our customers with.

The above results and forecasts can be seen in the original analysis created by independent research and advisory firm Atlantic Ventures.