How Inefficient Data Centers Hamper Sustainability

Experts believe that companies which are maintaining excess capacity for their IT and data-center requirements are impeding efforts to run their facilities in a way that is more sustainable.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s chief technologist of sustainable transformation, John Frey, revealed that it was common for companies to switch off features that made their systems run more efficiently. He explained that while these devices were calibrated to operate at high efficiency levels with optimized power performance, clients often switched off the default setting, with some holding the opinion that it would help systems run without lag.

Frey explained that this meant that some businesses operated their IT and data-center infrastructures at lower utilization levels, with many choosing to ease anxieties about the smooth operation of these systems. This meant that businesses acquired hyper efficient hardware stacks that ended up being used inefficiently.

He noted that change in mindset and educating clients played a huge role in driving sustainability efforts generally. Frey also added that analytics and metrics play a part in quantifying returns for businesses, be it in terms of risk-reduction, dollars, decreased carbon emission, cybersecurity benefits and improved resilience.

Frey also explained that while making some of these operating standards and regulations compulsory could help drive adoption, these initiatives needed to be launched in combination with the user community and industry at large. This would ensure that no unintended consequences such as poor performance were recorded.

Frey also discussed crucial barriers to building data centers that were more sustainable, calling attention to the fact that a one-size-fits-all strategy was no longer effective, especially amid the expected increase in AI workloads.

Instead, facilities needed to install liquid cooling to improve or maintain energy efficiency, particularly if they had computer-intensive environments. He argued that eventually, most data centers would acquire processors that were more powerful and generated more heat because they would be capable of handling additional tasks.

Frey also revealed that addressing higher temperatures for tropical climates was better suited for conventional workloads.

In the past, the average IT rack ran between 3–5 kilowatts. In the last 10 years, this has surpassed 20 kilowatts for computing workloads. It is expected that power requirements will increase as more racks are used to train models or artificial intelligence workloads, with projections exceeded 50 kilowatts per rack.

With this in mind, ambient air alone isn’t adequate to cool such environments. This, Frey noted, highlighted the need for liquid cooling.

In other industries and business activities, entities such as Coyuchi Inc. could provide helpful case studies on how the specific sustainability efforts they implement are impacting their operations and delivering bottom-line benefits.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Coyuchi Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at

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