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How does the metaverse impact sustainable data centres of the future?

An IDC Global DataSphere report says global data creation and reproduction are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% as it currently stands. This rate of growth has the potential to outpace the growth of data centre capacity over the same timeframe.
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Throw the metaverse into the mix, and we are going to need a lot of data centres. And whilst there is still a lot of work to be done to fully leverage this new iteration of the internet, organisations and data centres providers must start planning for the future of data growth, sustainably.

The world’s data centres already represent 1% of the world’s electricity use estimates renowned publisher, Science, and although the industry has achieved incredible efficiency improvements over the past decade, it’s unclear if those gains can continue to offset data centre energy demands in the years to come.

Pair it with the high-capacity IT infrastructure needed to support the idea of the metaverse, and it’s clear that sustainable edge data centres are more crucial than ever.

Business leaders must prioritise sustainability as part of their data centre expansions; analysing and understanding the equipment and infrastructure currently in place and implementing frameworks to measure its environmental impact.

Planning for data expansion and the metaverse

The time is now to start investing in technologies that are energy efficient and resilient. In a country which continues to face daily energy provision supply challenges, it’s important to standardise metrics that will in turn help with adoption, improved benchmarking, and sustainability within the industry.

Recent conversations with industry leaders, especially in the hyperscale and colocation markets, inspired Schneider Electric to develop a standard that will allow for sustainable data centres. This culminated in a white paper, Guide to Environmental Sustainability Metrics for Data Centers, that lays out a set of 23 key metrics.

These 23 metrics are sorted into five categories spanning the full spectrum of environmental sustainability, and they’re ranked across three levels of achievement: Beginning, Advanced, and Leading

The list of 23 metrics combines the basics, such as total energy consumption and PUE, with more sophisticated measurements, such as hour-by-hour supply and consumption matching and mean species abundance for biodiversity

Whilst the five categories go into considerable detail, the Beginning, Advanced and Leading levels of achievement can be simplified as follow:

Beginning

Starting the journey:

  • Raise awareness of climate crisis
  • Make first commitments
  • Limited scope and ambition
  • Identify discrepancies between corporate strategy and climate ambition

Advanced

Deliver significant individual impact:

  • Set science-based targets
  • Reduce direct and indirect footprint
  • Develop low-carbon products and services
  • Provide transparency on action plan

Leading

  • Reshape industry towards net zero
  • Evolve competitive advantage
  • Redefine industry business models
  • Lead value chain decarbonisation
  • Drive value chain mobilisation

Organisations and data centre designers and operators are in the ideal position to make a significant difference due to its high-energy intensity, rapid growth, large power consumption and water usage that in turn require specialised metrics. It is an industry that can truly lead by example.

About George Senzere

George Senzere is solution architect: secure power at Schneider Electric.

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