Published on November 9, 2023, 6:13 am
Many data center operators are facing a sustainability challenge as they struggle to meet the increasing requirements and regulations in this area. This is one of the key findings from the 12th Annual Global Data Centre Survey conducted by Uptime Institute.
According to the survey, about 63% of operators believe that authorities in their region will soon require them to publicly report environmental data. However, only 37% currently collect and report carbon emissions data, and just 39% report their water use. While there has been a slight increase in carbon emissions reporting compared to last year, there has been a 12% drop in water use reporting.
Although most respondents report on overall data center power usage and power usage effectiveness (PUE), many are not tracking critical environmental metrics. With new laws and standards on the horizon, these operators will need to address these gaps and establish more stringent sustainability tracking and reporting practices.
In addition, the survey revealed that progress in PUE (power usage effectiveness) has plateaued for now. To achieve substantial efficiency improvements in data centers, there needs to be a renewed focus on IT efficiency and the development of metrics to track and report progress.
Despite these challenges, the global data center industry remains resilient and continues to grow. According to Andy Lawrence, Executive Director of Research at Uptime Institute Intelligence, “The global digital infrastructure sector continues to enjoy strong growth and expansion, despite the many obstacles operators are facing today…But there’s still work to be done when it comes to improving efficiency, environmental sustainability, outage prevention, staffing pipelines, and more.”
The Uptime Institute’s annual Global Data Centre Survey is considered the largest and most comprehensive in the digital infrastructure industry. It provides valuable insights into the current landscape of digital critical infrastructure as well as its future trajectory.
Other key findings from the survey include:
1. More operators are investing in bolstering data center resiliency by making significant investments in redundancy levels at their primary data centers as well as upgrading power and cooling systems.
2. Outages are becoming more expensive and still occur too frequently, with 25% of outages costing operators over US$1 million. While there has been a slight improvement in outage rates, the frequency is still high, and the consequences are increasingly significant.
3. Operators’ confidence in public cloud services is increasing, despite ongoing outage risks. The perception of improved visibility into cloud operational resiliency has led to greater trust in using the cloud for mission-critical workloads.
4. Data center equipment vendors remain optimistic about year-over-year revenue growth in 2022, despite supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
5. The challenge of attracting and retaining qualified staff in the data center industry is worsening, with more operators reporting difficulty finding qualified employees and experiencing issues with staff being hired away by competitors.
It is clear that data center operators are facing multiple challenges related to sustainability, resiliency, staffing, and supply chain management. However, by addressing these challenges head-on and adopting sustainable practices along with efficient IT strategies, they can navigate the evolving landscape successfully while contributing to a greener future for the industry.