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TechUK has called on the UK data centre sector to ramp up efforts to tackle climate change and help the UK Government meet its target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
According to the trade body’s latest data centre report, operators from all sectors need to do more to improve energy efficiency and use of renewables.
When I first heard about KaoData, I was immediately intrigued. Born and raised in North London, the idea of a facility popping up in Harlow that boasted itself as one of the largest developments in the UK, with the potential to support an IT load of 35MW across 150,000sq ft of space, seemed unthinkable. Naturally, when I was invited to have a look around, I jumped at the chance.
The first thing that hit me was just how easy it was to find the data centre. Kao Park is situated just minutes off the M25 but the location itself wasn’t a fluke. Gerard Thibault, chief technical officer, explained that the site was selected based on a number of factors. Accessibility was crucial, the facility needed to be easy for staff and customers to reach by road, train or plane. Positioned in the heart of the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor, with the M1, M11, M25 all in close proximity, Harlow train station just 10 minutes away by taxi, and Luton, Stansted and City. airports all in close vicinity, they were able to pinpoint the perfect spot.
With the proliferation of 5G, AI, Big Data, IoT and social media, all of which reside in the cloud, there is an ever-increasing demand for energy in data centres.
Take popular consumer data storage platforms, which for the majority of society constitute the cloud. At the Data Centre Re-transformation Conference held last month in Manchester, Uptime Institute revealed it requires 666GWh/year on average to store a selfie on the cloud (assuming the photo is 2.5MB and 6.5kWh/GB is required for annual storage, and given that on average each of the UK’s 41M cloud users store 1000 photos per year).
In an environment where consumption of all things appears to be heading skywards, data use, bandwidth and storage requirements are right on trend. With levels of data creation and use now surpassing zettabytes volumes per year, the data centre technology suites that facilitate this compute power need to be carefully controlled.
From the standpoint of an infrastructure supplier, today’s discussions with data centre operators and corporate end users, with owned data centre capability, are framed around increased bandwidth, reduced latency and energy concerns including lower power usage and effective climate control to optimise the compute environment.
Data centre construction in Amsterdam might resume in less than a year following constructive dialogue between industry and government stakeholders.
In July, two local governments in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area announced a pause on the issuing of new permits for data centre projects in their regions, over concerns the speed of construction was threatening the property market and power networks.