Rising to the Challenge of a Green Data Center

When it comes to creating a green data center, it is imperative to have a partner who can help you see the forest for the trees.

You may have heard the old expression, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” It is often used to describe a situation in which the preoccupation with a minor detail prevents someone from addressing the problem in its entirety. When it comes to creating a green data center, the strategy must be comprehensive, and not with just a single solution, in mind. A photograph of trees can provide a façade of greenery but it lacks the depth and substance that exist within a real forest.

Conquering Overburdened Grids and Rising Energy Costs

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that in 2018, one percent of all electricity was used by data centers. Additionally, the IEA acknowledges published reports warning a, “tsunami of data could consume one-fifth of global electricity by 2025.” To make matters worse, that power comes at an increasing cost. According to the World Bank, the cost of energy commodities is expected to be 46% higher, on average, in 2023.

As companies address reducing their carbon footprint, the data center is often placed front and center for examination. The juxtaposition of data centers, in the context of sustainability, is that they are business critical for data access and operations but are responsible for significant power consumption and energy cost. This places companies in the precarious position of questioning how to drive progress while pivoting to a green data center which is not just positive for climate change but is also increasingly becoming a critical economic decision.

A Robust Strategy, with the Right Partner, is the Best Way to Tackle the Problem

Creating a green data center requires a strategic, all-encompassing approach, inclusive of the right partners, to drive the desired results.

At Dell Technologies, we place sustainability at the heart of everything we do. The race to net-zero involves immediate action to reduce emissions, increase the use of renewable electricity, and lower scope three emissions related to the use of our products.

As we continue to raise the bar on data center infrastructure solutions, we are committed to revolutionizing hardware, software and multicloud solutions that drive smart, efficient operational and environmental outcomes for our customers.

Creating a Green Data Center Is Not a “One Size Fits All” Equation

We partner with our customers on reducing carbon footprint in the data center, factoring in how to optimize things like power, energy efficiency, cooling and thermals, rack space and performance per watt. And that’s just the hardware. We also focus on other important factors like data center design, hot/cold aisle containment, cooling methods and energy sources.

Legacy hardware is a key contributor to high carbon footprints in the data center. Every customer has a unique footprint when it comes to their environment and stage of modernization.

Engineering advancements have helped Dell reduce energy intensity in HCI products up to 83%, since 2013, and we increased our energy efficiency on PowerEdge servers by 29% over the previous generation. Ten years ago, it took six servers to do what is possible in just one server today. In addition, our PowerMax storage is 40% more energy efficient than the previous generation. We drive innovations in all of our modern storage solutions including flash storage, data deduplication and compression which enables customers to consolidate their hardware and save energy, reducing their physical footprint. One such customer, Fresenius Medical Care, said, “PowerMax has allowed us to reduce our data center footprint by 50%, while decreasing power and cooling costs by more than 35%.”

Combine these types of hardware advancements with software solutions like OpenManage Enterprise (OME) Power Manager which provides visibility across the environment and leverages telemetry to make critical decisions and you have not one, but many, components working in your favor. This equates not just to reduced carbon footprint, but also to lower energy costs.

Putting It Together with the Right View

At Dell, we believe strongly that it’s every technology provider’s responsibility to prioritize going green and to deliver technology that will drive human progress. On occasion, we see our peers challenge our position on the sustainability features of one solution or another. While we welcome the increased focus on creating a sustainable future, we also know that looking at a single solution, or even one aspect of a solution, will not drive the results that are critically important to get to a green data center and more profitable bottom line.

We believe our advantage is that we not only work to lower the complete carbon footprint of each product in our portfolio, but that we also provide solutions for the entire ecosystem that contribute to the data center footprint.

Dell’s leadership in sustainability has been consistently demonstrated with the right commitments, actions and business practices to deliver innovative products and solutions which help customers achieve their sustainability goals.

At Dell, we believe in helping our customers achieve their business and environmental goals by designing modern, high-performance solutions that comprehend all aspects of sustainability from recycled materials and packaging to power and energy efficiency. By providing the vision and experience to help them see beyond the “trees” to the “forest” that makes up a truly green data center.

For more information on Dell’s commitment to advancing sustainability please visit us online.

Travis Vigil

About the Author: Travis Vigil

Travis Vigil is Senior Vice President leading Portfolio and Product Management for Dell’s Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG). He and his team are responsible for Dell’s Server, Storage, Data Protection, CI/HCI, Networking and Solutions businesses. He has over 20 years of Product Management, Marketing and Business Operations experience with technology companies including Intel and Dell. In previous roles at Dell, he served as Senior Vice President for Storage and Data Protection Product Management, and Senior Vice President for Business Operations focused on Dell’s Server, Storage and Networking Businesses. He has a B.S. from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.