Meta: Uptime Institute finds data center operators are still failing to track environmental impact

Sep 24, 2021 | Posted by MadalineDunn

The Uptime Institute recently released its 11th annual global data center survey, and unfortunately, the results were disappointing. The survey found that while there is a growing awareness of the need to pursue sustainability goals and create greener operations regarding data centers, most operators are failing to measure water or carbon impact as well as the impact of e-waste disposal programs. 

Having compiled data from more than 800 data center operators, the institute discovered that only 51% of respondents measure water use in some way, while less than 50% track server utilization, and rather dismally, only 33% calculate carbon emission levels. When it comes to tracking e-waste or equipment lifecycle metrics, just 25% tracked this.

Comparatively, 82% of data center managers monitored tracked electricity usage, and a total of 70% tracked PUE. 

Unfortunately, this indicates that when it comes to sustainability data center operators may talk to talk; they are certainly not walking the walk. So, while Google and Facebook’s water pledges seem promising and other big tech names like Microsoft and AWS appear to be toeing the carbon-neutral line, best practices appear to be far from the norm. 

Reflecting on how data center operators must do better, Andy Lawrence, the Executive Director of Research at Uptime Institute, said: “The stakes have never been higher when it comes to outage prevention, environmental sustainability and overall performance. He added: “That’s why organizations must continue to carefully reassess their mission-critical digital infrastructure and operations to minimize service delivery risk and maximize resiliency.”