All of the monstrous data centers popping up globally are having multiple negative impacts on the planet, the EPA notes. Old servers don’t just burn electricity; they are contributing negatively to the environment.
- Data centers account for 3 percent of the electricity supply global and consume more power than the entire United Kingdom.
With Amazon and Many other top sites deploying more than a million physical servers per year globally, the old server equipment they replace have to go somewhere. The same goes for your old servers. But where are they going and what are they doing to the environment?
- The EPA estimates e-waste, disposed electronics, now accounts for 2 percent of all solid waste and 70 percent of toxic waste, thanks to the use of chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium, as well as hazardous chemicals such as brominated flame retardants. A lot of that is old servers and components. And much of this is due to poor management and configuring.
In a survey of people who purchase and administer data-center hardware , only 59 percent of the 361 respondents consider energy efficiency important when building or leasing a new data center. It’s fourth on the priorities list behind security, performance, and connectivity when managing existing data centers.
- For example, it’s been found that you don’t necessarily have to chill your data center equipment to that of a refrigerator. Natural ambient temperature is fine in many cases, and you can save a lot of money, power, and water if you don’t turn your data center into a meat locker. It may not be pleasant for the humans, but the servers do just fine.
All in all, hardly anyone is looking at the efficiency of their data center, and what is translating into burned out hardware that needs to be disposed. An estimated 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste is disposed of globally every year, depositing heavy metals and other hazardous waste into our landfills.
Industry leaders are urged to incorporate disaggregated resource-saving solutions into their data center plans, with a goal to lower the average data center PUE to 1.30 and reduce their e-waste by 2025. The health of our environment, our planet, and our citizens may depend on it.
Over the years to come, many will start to adapt green policies to help eliminate data center waste and to make customers more aware of the damage on our environment this waste creates.