5 ways data center colocation contributes to sustainability

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Partnering with a colocation provider can play an integral role in sustainability strategies, especially as more businesses strive to adjust their technology strategies to keep energy costs under control. Data center energy issues are a mounting problem for companies in a wide variety of sectors. As more companies invest in robust technologies to support big data strategies and other sophisticated technology plans. The problem with developing such robust IT strategies is that it pushes power and cooling systems within the data center, establishing an environment that can be incredibly expensive to support.

Power and cooling issues are particularly difficult to deal with when organizations are trying to manage an older data center. Legacy facilities can be extremely limiting in how they let organizations develop different facility capabilities. An older data center can be incredibly expensive to upgrade, limit what types of systems can be installed and may hit a point when they can’t be upgraded any longer. Businesses trying to become more energy efficient, but struggling with an old data center, can turn to data center colocation. A colocation plan lets organizations lease facility space, giving them a smooth path to sustainability. A few ways that colocation can drive sustainability plans include:

1. Improve power access
Many businesses only have access to grid-based power resources that come into the office building where their data center is hosted. When organizations depend solely on traditional grid resources to get their power, they are likely going to end up relying on relatively inefficient power sources. Generally speaking, utility providers turn to more sustainable forms of energy when their customers begin to demand more robust resources. Many data center providers develop strategic partnerships with utility providers to get access to power that is generated at more energy efficient locations, despite accessing a large amount of power.

2. Enhance power delivery
Getting energy from the point where it enters the facility out to servers, storage systems and data center connectivity infrastructure. Power can be lost when traveling throughout the facility, causing a significant difference in the amount of energy that comes into the facility compared to what actually reaches IT systems. Improving energy delivery can be incredibly expensive for businesses, but the long-term costs of paying larger energy bills can prove extremely problematic. Colocation providers operate at a scale that lets them more easily build state-of-the-art energy delivery systems while keeping costs under control for clients.

3. Sophisticated cooling architectures
There are many ways to improve cooling systems and a great deal of diversity in chillers that are available for businesses to install in their data center. This means that organizations that need to make an upgrade have plenty of options available. However, it also means that there can be incredible costs associated with making an upgrade. Some state-of-the-art cooling solutions can be incredibly expensive. This puts some of the most robust options available on the market out of the reach of businesses. Organizations that want to establish energy efficient cooling architectures can face significant cost barriers getting to high-end chillers, but colocation vendors offer companies a cost-effective way to access sustainable cooling options for their IT systems.

4. Remote management
Energy problems can arise in a variety of ways, ranging from hot spots that cause cooling problems to other issues that lead to escalating power use until the problems have been dealt with. Organizations can often face rising energy problems as different IT problems can take a long time to show up on a worker’s radar and be resolved. A remote management platform tracks different performance metrics and identifies when problematic conditions exist within the data center. 

A remote management platform takes that sensor data and uses it to enable IT managers to identify problems sooner and deal with them without having to physically interact with configuration. The end result is much more efficient problem resolution and less wasted energy when configuration issues lead to escalating power use.

5. Economies of scale
A large number of small data centers often end up operating much less efficiently than one large, sustainable facility. This factor is a primary impetus behind the data center consolidation movement. Many businesses that want to consolidate their infrastructure find that their existing facilities are not up to the task. A high-density configuration requires incredible precision and sophistication to support.

Colocation providers operate at such a large scale that they can more easily adapt and adjust to new trends and different client requirements. Consolidation is a prime example of this, as a data center services provider can often support efficient consolidated environments much more efficiently than most businesses would be able to accomplish on their own.

Sustainability can be a major issue for businesses facing rising IT challenges, but the unique capabilities offered by colocation vendors can prove a prime solution as organizations strive for greater efficiency.