The colocation industry aides company sustainability—and significantly reduces energy consumption across the country. The reduction can be attributed, at least in part, to efficient hyperscale data centers and the migration of data center activity to cloud or colocation facilities.
According to the “United States Data Center Energy Usage Report,” published in June of 2016, data center electricity usage increased about 4% from 2010 to 2014, compared to usage increases of 24% from 2005 to 2010 and nearly 90% from 2000 to 2005. The report notes that data center energy usage is projected to remain constant through 2020, and these energy savings are happening in spite of a dramatic rise in demand for data center services.
“Growth in data center energy consumption has slowed drastically since the previous decade,” reports Patrick Thibodeau of Computerworld, in reference to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “However, demand for computations and the amount of productivity performed by data centers continues to rise at substantial rates.” Companies using colocation facilities welcome these gains as they strive to achieve greater sustainability. Greater sustainability has become the catch-all phrase that reflects attempts to reduce energy usage and ultimately costs. Some organizations also strive to be more environmentally-friendly in terms of consumption of natural resources.
Colocation can reduce growth expense
Business growth and expansion often require increased amounts of power and equipment. And, if the company is hosting its IT equipment onsite, it may need to find additional space or to build a separate or new data center space. Colocation can significantly reduce the costs of expansion since a company can simply pay for more data center space, rather than build additional space of its own.
Also, the colocation industry’s move to virtualization and centralization offers both business and energy benefits, like a reduced data center footprint, faster server provisioning, and increased uptime.
Colocation provides clear efficiency gains because many vendor facilities offer technologies and solutions to ensure energy is used more efficiently. These may include:
- Power delivery systems that minimize loss when getting energy out to devices
- Sophisticated cooling solutions that are often out of the price range for many data centers
- Partnerships with utilities to deliver energy from the best sources
- Buildings designed to deliver energy from the best sources
- Buildings designed to optimized airflow and reduce water consumption
- Redundant, scalable power and connectivity with generators for backup
- Relationships with high-speed internet providers at lower costs due to volume
Data centers often partner with energy providers directly to ensure that their facilities have reliable access to power. Also, many colocation facilities employ specialized equipment such as air conditioning units equipped with air-side economization, to help reduce the costs of powering cooling equipment used in maintaining an ideal climate for operating servers. When you choose data center colocation, you take advantage of the facility’s power partnerships and advanced power delivery systems.
Over time, server hardware has become more efficient. Vastly improved power scaling has enabled new servers to use less energy while idle or during low-use periods. Enhanced storage, network and infrastructure designs are also reducing their consumption. For example, increases in drive capacity mean fewer drives are needed in data centers, thereby lowering overall energy usage. Power-saving network ports and improved data center infrastructure—such as cooling and super-efficient hyperscale facilities—are helping reduce usage and lower costs.
Total data center electricity usage in the U.S., which includes powering servers, storage, networking and the infrastructure to support it, was at 70 billion kWh (kilowatt-hours) in 2014, representing 1.8% of total U.S. electricity consumption. Based on current trends, the study projects U.S. data centers will consume approximately 73 billion kWh in 2020.
Operating onsite data centers or smaller in-house IT environments for hosting can often be more expensive than hosting equipment in a single data center with an advanced infrastructure. Colocation providers like OnRamp have facilities that are specially designed to remediate heat with much more efficiency, which allows customers to operate greater densities of computing infrastructure without the need to acquire new resources.
Organizations are constantly looking for ways to contain costs and achieve greater sustainability. For businesses weighing the pros and cons of implementing a colocation strategy, the many ways colocation facilities can help reduce bottom line expenses and contribute toward increased sustainability is music to their ears. Small businesses can obtain features like their larger IT counterparts without the capital investment, whereas medium to large sized businesses can expand their infrastructure without the challenges of data expansions and maintenance.
At OnRamp, we’re confident that we can help you with your colocation needs. Schedule a tour with us to get started.
Additional Resources on this Topic
Ensure Brand Longevity with A Sustainable (Technology) Strategy
Cloud computing slows energy demand, U.S. says
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