How can we operate data centres in a climate-neutral way? We talk to Stefan Mink, Head of TechOps Infrastructure at 1&1 IONOS about energy efficiency, renewable energies and sustainability goals. He is speaking today at the Data Center Expert Summit as a speaker in the “Digital Leader” panel.
Mr Mink, what global sustainability trends do you expect for the data centre industry in the post-Corona era?
Mink: Sustainability was already a very important topic before Corona and will become even more important in my eyes. Corona has led to us all travelling less and “moving” more online. Unfortunately, this only leads to a shift in CO2 emissions if the data centres are not operated in a CO2-neutral way. IONOS had already started actively addressing this issue over 15 years ago by offsetting the CO2 emissions of our energy. Three years ago, we switched to buying the sustainable energy for our own data centres directly from regional renewable energy producers, rather than having to take the diversions via certificates. This is now complemented by photovoltaic installations on and next to our data centres. Their locally generated energy is used directly, which also means there are no transmission losses.
How do you assess the growth prospects for cloud infrastructures and what is crucial for a positive development?
Mink: Corona has certainly given further impetus to the topic of “digital transformation”. Processes and communication in companies had to be decoupled from the local office environment to a much greater extent. Last year, IONOS enabled many companies and public organisations such as schools to enter this world. I expect many more applications to be moved from local IT rooms to the cloud for cost reasons. IONOS is a strong partner here and, with its European data centres, offers maximum possible protection against access based on the US CLOUD Act and other non-European regulations. Growth will also be boosted in the long term with 5G and applications with a local character.
What new technology trends are emerging in the European market? How do these pay off in terms of sustainability goals?
Mink: Optimisation of the data centre infrastructure – for example, with regard to electricity and air conditioning – continues to be a very important technological trend. This applies in particular to increasing the supply air temperature and optimising the delta-T in order to be able to carry out a large proportion of the cooling without compressors. The IT components that make the demands play an important role here. We see an increasing trend towards higher robustness. I am also convinced that holistic optimisation, i.e. data centres including their IT, should get a stronger focus than just pursuing technological innovation. As a cloud player, we are leading the way here because we are able to optimise the systems used with virtual machines and containers much further than is possible with systems that are operated locally and in isolation.
Thank you very much for the interview, Mr Mink!
You can find more information about the Data Center Expert Summit on our website.