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The Impact Of Data Center On Global Warming

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A data center is an infrastructure consisting of a network of computers and storage spaces. This infrastructure can be used by companies to organize, process, store and store large amounts of data. Typically, an enterprise relies heavily on the applications, services and data contained in a data center. It is an essential part of the company’s daily life.

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A data center is a set of elements. A basic data center includes servers, storage subsystems, network switches, routers, firewalls, and of course physical cables and racks to organize and interconnect all this computer equipment.

To function properly, a Data Center must also house the right infrastructure: a power distribution system, a power switch, power reserves, backup generators, a ventilation and cooling system, and a powerful Internet connection. Such an infrastructure requires a physical space large enough and secure enough to hold all this equipment.

Normally, any space large enough can be used as a data center. However, the implementation of a data center requires several precautions. After the basic problems of cost and taxes, sites are selected on many criteria, such as geographical location, weather stability, access to roads and airports, energy availability, telecommunications and the political environment. Imagine that such an infrastructure is very bad for the earth.

Data center: energy consumption and efficiency

The design of a data center must also take into account energy efficiency. A smaller data center can operate on a few kilowatts of power, but installing a large enterprise can require dozens of megawatts or more. Green data centers, designed to have minimal environmental impact through the use of low-emission building materials and alternative energy technologies, are becoming increasingly popular.

In generally Companies measure the efficiency of a data center using a metric called Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). This represents the total energy ratio in a data center divided by the energy used by the computer equipment.

By 2020, global Internet traffic could have tripled. This will increase the network’s ecological footprint, particularly as a result of the increase in our personal data consumption and the number of users worldwide, which is expected to increase from three billion today to more than four billion by the end of the decade. According to some estimates, the pollution generated by the Internet industry and its impact on the climate is equivalent to that of the aviation sector.

The 130 French data centers, mainly located in the Paris region, would currently absorb 9% of the country’s electricity. If the Internet were a country, it would be the 3rd largest electricity consumer in the world with 1500 TWH per year, behind China and the United States. In total, digital technology consumes 10 to 15% of the world’s electricity, the equivalent of 100 nuclear reactors. And this consumption doubles every 4 years!

Half of the greenhouse gases produced by the Internet come from the user, the other half being divided between the network and data centres. A data centre consumes as much electricity as 30, 000 European inhabitants.

Beginning of solution

Today, we are assist us a growing mobilization of leaders in the sector in favour of renewable energies. The Internet giants Facebook, Apple and Google were the first to engage, four years ago, to the race for an Internet 100% powered by renewable energies. Today, more than 20 companies have joined the movement. Among them were international cloud computing and hosting players who had enormous progress to make.

Actually the big company can use two or more data centers located in different locations for greater resilience and application performance, and reduce latency by placing them closer to users.

On the contrary, a company with multiple data centers can choose to consolidate them, reducing their number to minimize operational costs. Consolidation generally occurs during fusion of companies, when the majority company does not need the data centers used by the companies they buy.

Data center operators can pay to rent server space or other equipment within a colocation. Colocation is an attractive option for companies that do not want to invest massively in a building and maintain their own centres.

Measures are being taken to reduce the environmental impact of data centres: supply them 100% with renewable energy, as Facebook, Google and Apple are starting to do. Locate them in the Nordic countries, in order to take advantage of the fresh air to cool computers and minimize the use of air conditioning, which represents 40% of their energy consumption.

Other engineering solutions: Natick Project

An underwater cable powers the data center and allows it to communicate with the shoreline and the Internet. The data center looks like a white cylinder containing servers. Its expected lifetime five years. If the on-board machines fail, they cannot be repaired. However, the expected failure rate of machines is lower than in traditional data centers.

Researchers say the cost of cooling computers will be reduced by placing them underwater.


We are depend more and more on technology and the benefits are incredible for humanity. Internet is a space for exchange and sharing it’s true but …Let’s not forget that if the Internet were a country it would be the 3th largest consumer of electricity. Internet is a virtual country but it pollutes as much as a country its pollution is an invisible pollution.

Big companies are starting to realize their impact but we need to act now and find a solution. However, we all participate in the expansion of invisible pollution. Many users still do not associate digital use with environmental impact. Humanity must be eco-digital otherwise … we cross our fingers.

15 July 2020

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