With war raging, the world economy under attack, inflation and high interest rates, the energy crisis, high prices on electricity and global warming to name but a few, it’s safe to say we’re facing a lot of dark skies. But in this darkness, there are (literally) beacons of light that help keep society running at full speed – data centers.
There are a lot of discussions at the moment regarding the needs of these data centers, in terms of the amount of energy they consume, electricity that could otherwise be used for other more important things. But, what could be more important than…
An ambulance dispatched to an accident saving lives. A young man making an online payment for his rent. A parent having an instant meeting with her child’s doctor via the computer. Life-saving medicine delivered to a pharmacy, received, stocked on shelves and ready to be handed out to the sick and elderly. The grandmother in Stockholm keeping long distance contact with her grandchildren in Australia. Municipalities having 24/7 online services for its residents.
Or maybe less important, but very nice to have services like streaming the latest series or football match on your preferred media. Listening to your favorite rock classics while commuting to work. Saving lots of air miles at work using digital meeting platforms instead. Posting your holiday images or videos to social media. Using GPS on your phone to get to the right location for your latest online second-hand buy.
All these services, important or not – along with countless digital interactions that fill your daily life cannot happen without the support of data centers. Or to be more accurate, the equipment that is hosted inside these data centers e.g. millions of interconnected servers and networking devices that keep these applications running, as well as the infrastructure needed to keep these data centers online – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
It’s all pretty amazing if you ask me! And imagine if all these critical, lifesaving or fun applications also ran in a data center that by itself could also contribute to society? Nearly too good to be true – you would think – but it’s not.
The most important component here is the actual electricity consumed. This needs to be truly green, with the majority coming from renewable sources. Not just green on paper, i.e., “buying yourself” free from a damaging carbon footprint.
A healthy mix of hydro, nuclear, wind and solar is a perfect match for fossil free operations. There are actually data centers that can help warm up the nearby community by reusing the excess heat created inside the facility, utilizing up to 95 percent of the energy that goes into the data center.
And with more and more renewable energy going into the main grid, the need for frequency regulation becomes even more important and even here data centers can contribute, by using their UPS/battery resources to stabilize the grid. Important so you can use your electronic devices without having disruptions in your power feed.
From health care to grocery shopping, from online schools to online banking, it’s difficult to think of many aspects of life that are not relying on digital services hosted in data centers.
Despite the role data centers play in so many corners of everyday life, most people don’t give them a second thought. And a lot of responsible people in high places don’t even want them, at least not in their own backyard.
Without the infrastructure running inside these data centers, which is the invisible infrastructure, will you still be able to do the things you need for work, recreation, and play? Unless you are totally off grid, the answer is no.
That’s why data centers are so critical to our modern society and a key contributor (and enabler) to our digital way of living. Please give them the appreciation that they deserve.
To learn more about the integral role data centers play in today's society, please visit conapto.com.
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