water cooling

(Photo by OVHcloud / AFP)

Water cooling in data centres enhances sustainability

  • Water cooling in data centers is currently one of the best ways to reduce carbon emission and be sustainable.
  • Data centers operators are looking to water or liquid cooling options for processing intensive computing applications. 

Despite being celebrated for nearly half a century, World Environment Day continues to highlight the challenges in nature that is happening around the world. While more advanced countries are now moving towards reducing their carbon emissions, developing countries may not be able to look towards the same outcome.

Today, most developed nations have already pledged to reducing their carbon emissions. This includes looking at environmental friendly energy sources as well as the reductions of gas powered vehicles on their roads. For example, the UK, India and such are looking to ban or reduce gas powered vehicles on the road in the future. Car manufacturers are also looking to develop more electric vehicles instead.

However, as developing countries look to catch up, the most they can look towards to is sustainable development. This includes building more green buildings and infrastructures as well as work with more sustainable materials in their developments.

When it comes to technology, the demand for better technology services requires more processing power at the data centers. While data centers do not emit as much carbon as gas powered vehicles or manufacturing plants, most data centers have taken the initiative to become more sustainable.

According to Lionel Legros, Vice President and General Manager in APAC for OVH Cloud, the demand for data centers exploded exponentially during the pandemic, where the growth in digital apps, e-commerce, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and online collaborative tools continues to fuel the need for data centers.

Looking specifically in Singapore, Legros pointed out that data centers account for 7% of the country’s total electricity consumption. With the challenges of climate change now at their doorstep, it is no longer an option to ignore sustainable efforts and ‘greenwash’ for reputation’s sake. Legros feels that with Singapore’s commitment to halve carbon emissions by 2050, now it’s the time for businesses to relook their strategies and chose eco-friendly cloud providers that best fit their business needs.

At the same time, Legros explained that businesses must also continue to manage their environmental impact with full accountability. This includes to be equipped with technologies to track and manage their operational efficiency and carbon footprint, and pivot towards a growth model with sustainability as a core pillar.

“Data centers can first look at optimizing cooling, which will significantly reduce the air conditioning need and carbon emissions – especially the way water cooling is managed within data centers has a very significant environmental impact by using less electricity and water. Traditionally, cooling alone can consume up to 40% of a data center’s energy consumption. This, in turn, will have an undeniable negative impact on the environment,” commented Legros.

As such, Legros feels that organizations moving toward greener data center practices should consider water cooling over air cooling as it can more easily accommodate denser workloads and data volumes, reducing physical footprint; especially for cooling high computing solutions such as AI, ML or blockchain technologies.

“Given the increasing pressure to support greater sustainability, water cooling could become the only viable option, so businesses in Singapore and across the region should prepare and center their cloud strategies around this transition,” he added.