Green initiatives and energy savings have come a long way in the data center environment. As virtualization and cloud-based computing processes have improved over the last decade, so have global IT energy efficiency levels. While this is a positive step in the right direction toward global energy savings, green data centers need to remain vigilant by keeping up with the ever-increasing data being processed in the greenest ways possible. While the big players in the data processing game continue to lead the way with high-efficiency processes and renewable energy sourcing, even the smallest data center can make an appreciable contribution to global energy savings.


According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index (CGI), global data center IP traffic will have increased from 2014 to 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 percent. Cisco estimates that cloud data centers will process approximately 86 percent of data workloads while traditional data centers will handle the remaining 14 percent within the next few years. On the face of it, cloud-based computing is a major solution to energy waste; however, traditional data centers will still see a 2.5-fold workload density increase as global IP traffic reaches 10.4 zettabytes by 2019. Creating new and more efficient ways of processing this data traffic will become even more important in the coming decade.

The push to use more renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydro, is at the energy forefront of the top green data centers today. For instance, Amazon Web Services announced that they will build a wind farm in Ohio which will power their cloud data centers and generate 320,000 MWh of electricity. Google recently bought into Duke Energy Carolina’s Green Source Rider program, purchasing the entire 61 MW output solar array to power their data center on the same grid for the next 15 years. Data center specialist Equinix has finalized an agreement with wind energy providers in Texas and Oklahoma to send 225 MW of capacity to their data centers. This will bring their total renewable energy coverage to 100% in North America and 82% globally by 2017.

While these data center juggernauts are the undisputed leaders in their pursuit of global energy savings, there are steps that everyday data centers can take to increase efficiency and reduce energy waste.

Steps to Achieving Green Data Centers

  • Upgrade mainframes to faster models. By pushing through data faster, less energy is used per workload. While the initial cost can be a deterrent, high workload centers will see significant savings, especially when optimizing virtualization technologies.
  • Use data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools to automate IT monitoring and perform advanced trend analyses. These tools are non-disruptive and will analyze a data center’s design, asset discovery, capacity planning, and energy inefficiencies.
  • Adopt free cooling methods by using outside water or air sources rather than powered air-conditioning units. While this method requires more than just opening up the windows, addressing cooling costs can have a positive return on investment in overall energy savings.

Going and staying green is the future of global, green data center management. As data processing continues to grow exponentially, efforts to increase efficiency protocols will be essential in keeping up with global energy demands.

Author Info: This post was provided by Katrina, a computer savvy tech specializing in designing and manufacturing custom server racks with Rack Solutions