by Lyle Smith

Supermicro Unveils Their Second Annual Green Data Center Report

Supermicro has released its second annual Data Centers and the Environment report, which is based on an industry survey of over 5,000 IT professionals. After analyzing the results, the company has determined that the majority of data center leaders do not “fully consider” green initiatives when building-out data center infrastructures. Supermicro believes that organizations will see increases data center costs while negatively affecting the environment.  

The annual survey is conducted to provide a state of the industry, assess data center equipment purchase considerations, and educate data center leaders so they can make the best decisions possible to lessen the long-term environmental impact via energy savings and e-waste reduction. 

Responses from SMBs, large enterprises and recognized companies indicated that 86% of businesses “don’t consider the environmental impact of their facilities as an important factor” when it comes to their centers. For example, less than 15% of data center leaders responded that energy efficiency, corporate social responsibility, and/or environmental impact were key considerations for their facilities. The vast majority indicated that Total Cost of Ownership and Return on Investment was their “primary measures of success,” while 22% of respondents noted that “environmental considerations” were too expensive. Supermicro believes that that this is clear proof that there is a significant lack of understanding of the ROI of green computing solutions.

In addition, the survey demonstrated that almost 9 out of 10 data centers are not designed for optimal power efficiency, which, as a result can cost each data center over $1.4M every year (based on national averages). Supermicro continues, saying that despite new cooling technology and new hardware solutions that can thrive in higher operating temperatures, these companies are still wasting energy needlessly cooling their data centers. In 2019, the number of businesses that kept their facilities and servers below 24oC increased by 13% over last year.  

Supermicro also noted that 71% of respondents run their data centers at power densities less than 19 kW per rack, which is much lower than necessary. As a solution, the company recommends leveraging multinode servers and operating at higher power densities to significantly improve energy requirements and lessen overall costs. 

Supermicro indicates the following other key findings

  • The primary means of handling outdated server hardware from data centers has worryingly changed since 2018. In 2019, companies recycling their decommissioned hardware has dropped across the board: 
    • The number of businesses partnering with a certified recycling company dropped by 14% from 2018 to 2019, and the number of companies reporting recycling the hardware themselves dropped by 5%.
    • With e-waste already contributing to 2% of trash and 70% of overall toxic waste in the US, a decrease in proper recycling for such large amounts of hardware indicates a concerning impact on the environment.
    • Even worse, about 1 in 10 of the largest enterprises with the most data center hardware are still essentially throwing away decommissioned equipment.
    • 9% of these largest enterprises reported disposing of the hardware without relying on any kind of recycling.
  • Optimized hardware refresh cycles would reduce e-waste by over 80% and achieve 15% better performance while lowering acquisition costs by 44% – potentially reducing annual capital savings by $900k and resulting e-waste by 12 tons.  
    • The majority, 35% of businesses, planned to refresh server hardware every 2-3 years in 2018, while the majority in 2019 shifted to 40% planning to refresh server hardware every 4-5 years instead. 

Supermicro offers their resource-saving architecture as a solution, as it disaggregates the CPU, memory and other subsystems. This allows each resource to be refreshed independently so data centers can reduce refresh-cycle costs and consequently their impact on the environment. Supermicro adds that their servers will deliver, on-average, higher-performing, and more-efficient servers at lower costs than traditional rip-and-replace models (viewed over a two to four-year refresh cycle). It is able to do this by allowing data centers to independently optimize the adoption of new technologies.

Supermicro believes that the data center industry still has a long way to go before it can consider itself as green. Organizations of all sizes should choose new innovative data center equipment, as technology advancements can significantly reduce the impact on the environment. 

Supermicro’s Resource-Saving innovations and commitment to green computing

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