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Some of the more than 57,000 solar panels at the QTS Princeton data center campus. (Photo: Rich Miller)

How Corporate Sustainability Goals Impact Data Centers

AFCOM's DCI Board weighs in on the impact of corporate sustainability goals on data centers

Donna Manley, senior IT director for Pennsylvania University and member of AFCOM's Data Center Institute (DCI), says data center management has been dabbling in sustainability efforts long before it became a major focus for nearly all major corporations. They've done it as matter of survival, to keep already enormous data center energy bills from ballooning even further.

She recalls the most basic of modifications claiming “sustainability” fame: modified lighting options, installation of motion detectors, even devices spinning down after a period of inactivity. Looking back, these changes at times were touted as “state of the art,” and they may have made facilities more efficient, but their actual contribution to sustainability was insignificant. That's all changed, and corporate sustainability programs now increasingly inform data center decisions.

"A good data center strategy should have an IT sustainability strategy that is in line with that of corporate. This may include any green initiatives and data center innovations to reduce your power consumption or carbon footprint," John Parker, DR and global data center operations manager at Esri and DCI board member, added. Today’s organizational sustainability goals have educated not only data center managers but also clients whose equipment lives in those facilities.

According to Mike Andrea, director at Strategic Directions and also a DCI board member, "The focus and drive on corporate sustainability directly impact product choice (at the data center infrastructure level), site location analysis, and overall data center design."

To find out how other DCI board members think corporate sustainability goals affect data center management, read The Impact of Corporate Sustainability Goals on Data Centers(AFCOM membership required)

AFCOM, an association of data center professionals, is a sister organization to Data Center Knowledge.

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