Vertiv sees energy consumption as the primary concern as the data center industry looks toward 2023

Controlling consumption and carbon footprint drives trends towards regulation, standardization and the search for generator alternatives.

Data centers will see increased regulation and third-party oversight in 2023 as the world continues to grapple with the industry’s increasing energy and water consumption amid ongoing climate change.

The intensified focus on the data center’s overall environmental and societal impact is one of five industry trends for 2023 identified by the global data center experts at Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions

“The data center industry is growing rapidly as more and more applications require data processing and storage, driving a correspondingly rapid increase in energy and water consumption in data center facilities. The industry has understood that aggressive energy and water efficiency is key to future success and survival,” says Giordano Albertazzi, Vertiv Chief Operating Officer and President, Americas. “Increased regulation is inevitable and will lead to important innovations across our industry. The process may not always be easy or linear, but it can be navigated with the help of expert data center partners and innovative solutions that can anticipate the changes while meeting the ever-increasing demands of data center applications.”

The advances in chip design and manufacturing that limited server power consumption throughout the first decade and a half of the 2000s reached their limits in recent years, and an increase in the amount of energy server use has followed. In a recent Silicon heatwave report: Silicon heatwave: the looming change in data center climates, the Uptime Institute cited data from the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) showing that server power consumption has increased by 266% since 2017. This increase is among various technical and market forces driving the focus on environmental awareness and sustainability in several of the 2023 trends identified by Vertiv’s experts. These trends are:

Data centers under surveillance

Increasing pressure to meet consumer demand for energy and water is forcing governments at all levels to take a harder look at data centers and their outsized consumption of these resources. Data centers are estimated to be responsible for up to 3% of global electricity consumption today and are expected to reach 4% by 2030. The average hyperscale facility uses 20-50 MW annually – theoretically enough electricity to power up to 37,000 homes. Vertiv’s experts expect this to prompt increasing government scrutiny in 2023.

It is already happening in some places. Dublin, Ireland and Singapore have taken steps to control data center energy use, and data center water use – particularly in drought-prone areas – is likely to trigger similar investigations. According to the US Department of Energy, the water use efficiency (WUE) of an average data center using evaporative cooling systems is 1.8 L per kWh. That type of data center can consume 3-5 million gallons of water per day – equivalent to the capacity used by a city of 30,000-50,000 people.

The industry will continue to take steps to monitor and moderate – including an increasing preference for eco-friendly thermal designs – but 2023 will see increases in regulatory oversight.

According to a recent Omdia survey, 99% of enterprise data center operators say that prefab, modular data center designs will be part of their future data center strategy. It’s more than a trend; it’s the new normal. In 2023, Vertiv’s experts expect a continued shift in the same direction among hyperscalers as they seek the speed and efficiency that standardization provides.

5G meets the metaverse

In its 2022 Mobile Subscription and Revenue Forecast, Omdia expects that almost half of all mobile subscriptions – more than 5.8 billion – will be 5G by 2027, pushing the computer closer and closer to the user. Metaverse utilizes an ultra-dense, low-latency computer network. In 2023, we will see these two activities intersect, with metaverse deployments leveraging 5G networks to enable the ultra-low latency features that the application requires. Ultimately, this will require higher-powered computing in these 5G edge locations, and we’ll see it happen soon – with early forays in 2023 followed by more widespread deployments in the years after. As the edge of the network becomes more sophisticated, so does the infrastructure needed to support it. This will include technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality planning and control systems.

Source: IT-Kanalen by

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