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Sustainability is a competitive differentiator


Schneider Electric has released the findings of a newly commissioned study by 451 Research, that captures the impact efficiency and sustainability have on the cloud and service provider business. The recently released report includes insights from a survey of over 800 data center service providers around the globe about their perspectives on sustainability and the strategic initiatives they are either deploying or may be using in the future. Additionally, it addresses what’s required to achieve sustainability measures for colocation providers.

“The report from 451 Research provides a snapshot of the influence efficiency and sustainability has on the colocation market,” said Mark Bidinger, President of the Cloud & Service Provider Segment, Schneider Electric. “Multi-tenant data center operators can use it as a tool to assess gaps in resources and adoption, as well as the risks of not taking action.”

For the report Multi-tenant data centers and sustainability: ambitions and reality, 451 Research conducted surveys with IT decision makers who hold functional responsibilities over their data center sustainability strategies within colocation and wholesale data centers. Respondents were based in countries throughout the world including: the United States, China, India, Australia, France, United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Demark, and more. The companies ranged in size of 10 to 10,000+ employees, and with data center capacity from under 1MW to more than 150MW.

“Datacenter efficiency and sustainability is already a major topic in the datacenter sector, and our survey shows it is high on the priority list for MTDC service providers worldwide”, says Daniel Bizo, senior research analyst with 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Ultimately, expectations from customers, regulators and the public at large will only become more pressing as the effects of climate change become more pronounced. As global datacenter infrastructure grows in response to higher demand for digital services, so does interest in its considerable environmental impact.”

Key Report Takeaways about Sustainability
The report shares the level of maturity global colocation providers have with their sustainability strategies. Here are some key takeaways:
• The majority of respondents (57 percent) believe efficiency and sustainability will be highly important competitive differentiators in three years, a large increase from the current reading of 26 percent.
• Only 43 percent of respondents say they have strategic sustainability initiatives and efficiency improvements for their infrastructure.
• Top drivers for efficiency and sustainability programs are:

o Customer expectations (50 percent)
o Long-term operational resiliency (40 percent)
o Regulatory guidelines (36 percent)

• 97 percent of providers have between a few or all of their customers looking for contractual commitments to sustainable practices.
• Only 56 percent of those surveyed said they monitor their operational systems and the remaining said they do not generate reports to track these metrics (utilization, energy consumption, PUE, etc.). In addition, roughly one third track carbon intensity at all sites.

Data Center Power and Cooling Cited as Top Areas for Sustainability Improvement
When it comes to sustainability, the report found several common themes for multi-tenant data center operators. Two of which are:

• Top focus areas for sustainability improvement include:
o Optimizing existing datacenter power distribution
o Upgrading datacenter power distribution infrastructure
o Optimizing existing datacenter cooling efficiency
o Upgrading datacenter cooling infrastructure

Metrics to inform resiliency are a significant component of sustainability best practice with attention to how effectively data center facilities are using power, water, and other resources. Effective product maintenance and modernization is essential to extending and optimizing the lifecycle of a data center facility along with the use of DCIM and software to predict and monitor system operations and resource efficiency

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