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We talk a lot about the future of datacentres in terms of business outcomes. Rightly so. Better, smarter connections are vital to success in the digital economy. Yet another transformation is happening in the datacentre: greening the network is an increasingly high priority for vendors.

The latest IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Datacentre 2016 Predictions forecasts that 8% of new datacentres will be powered by green energy by 2018. IDC accompanies this with the expectation that advancements in cooling technology and rack architectures will accelerate, meaning improved energy efficiency.

From a customer perspective, this is a welcome trend. Lower energy costs help in the context of budget squeeze – after all, nobody likes paying a huge power bill when they have far better things to spend the dollars on.

Aside from the direct cost perspective, there are some key motivations for this focus on environmental impact. The 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris was a turning point where for the first time, all countries committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This has led to increasingly stringent legislation in some jurisdictions, and incentives in others, in an effort to ensure businesses are mindful of their environmental impact.

Alternative energy options have improved sufficiently to become a realistic option, at least for backup sources, and the need for uninterrupted supply has driven frustration with electrical grids. An increasing number of businesses are doing their bit for emissions reduction by pledging to shift to green energy supply.

The likes of Juniper have invested heavily in making networking technology more energy efficient. They have announced reductions in ozone-depleting materials, reduced fossil fuel consumption, and a smaller CO2 footprint. They say that they ‘meet some of the strictest environmental standards in the industry’, and this has become a point of differentiation that is increasingly important.

How are they doing it? A big factor is the way that integrated and hyperconverged equipment use less energy. Efficient, consolidated infrastructure means fewer devices and streamlined usage. It also means lower building costs by reducing space requirements, with a knock-on effect on costs such as lighting and air conditioning.

Economy of scale achieved by cloud computing models has a significant effect. Cloud providers have a vested interest in reducing energy needs, and have explored a number of ways to recycle heat output from servers. This helps keep their costs down, with both investors and customers reaping the benefit.

For more about energy efficiency in the datacentre, or a FREE copy of the IDC FutureScape report, contact the Comlinx team.


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