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Vinod Javur
CTO
STT GDC India

Building a Sustainable Data Center

It is predicted that by 2020, globally, there will be as many as 50 billion connected devices, with some statistics pointing to more than 100 billion, a further five years down the line. This massive wave of digitization is generating terabytes of data and this data has to be stored, managed and consumed, whilst being disseminated to users ubiquitously through public and private clouds. A big part of an enterprises’ IT strategy is to focus on providing consistent and superior digital experience and to do this, they need to rely on data centers that can handle the demands of modern-day computing. Globally, the data center industry has seen phenomenal growth; Fortune 500 companies that once exclusively managed their own data centers have migrated to the cloud. They have found that outsourcing vital IT infrastructure can be a reliable and cost-effective strategy.

Cloud computing and virtualization are driving densities higher, while data centers are growing larger to address rapidly expanding demand. With data centers becoming the bedrock of the digital revolution, it is estimated that the data center sector could be using 20 percent of all available electricity in the world by 2025 on the back of large amounts of data being created at a speed faster than ever seen before. Modern-day data center operators know that they need to create a sustainable future for the internet and the growing sector of government, companies, and people, whose data resides in the cloud. If a data center does not focus on sustainable growth and progression, it may prevent potential customers from taking space.

STT GDC India is a technology-driven company, perpetually in the process of bringing new changes in its existing and newer facilities, motivated both by internal and external factors. For us, management and effective utilization of key resources like people, skill sets and most importantly, the scarce resources like water and power is a key priority. With plans to offer 200 MW of IT load in the next 3–4 years, for us green is not just a buzz-word, it is an inherent responsibility that all of us carry.

Today, more than 34 percent of our overall power consumption is coming from renewable sources. In India, an enterprise needs to undertake a long-term agreement with providers to source green power. We were one of the first data center operators to do so, and we have rapidly increased our green power consumption. In addition to this, we have deployed in-house solar captive power generation systems across large campuses, offering clean and reliable power, without any surges, sags, or interference.

We are the first data center services provider in the country to undertake a large-scale deployment of Li-Ion batteries for UPS system in one of our production data centers.

Via our well-designed airflow management systems (cold and hot aisle system), we have minimized hot and cold air mixing, leading to lesser energy consumption. Standardized processes like eco-operation of UPS, enhanced chiller operation, and installing LED lighting fixtures in all our data centers and offices is leading to better energy efficiency, significantly reducing carbon footprint.

India is a water-stressed nation. However, while India suffers from water scarcity in most parts of the year, there is excess water during monsoon. Rather than letting the rainwater runoff, we have started harvesting rainwater in many of our facilities, leading to saving of water. Further, by treating and re-using blowdown water from chillers, we save over 336 kilo liters of water annually. We have also done pilot projects, where we have used hybrid cooling technologies as well as peripheral techniques like adiabatic cooling to reduce water consumed by chiller plants. We are in the process of deploying a new air to water generation plant that produces up to 1000 liters of water per day from moisture in the air on a Beta basis. These are ongoing efforts expected to achieve saving of even higher amounts of water.

Green energy and sustainability is the way forward for us. Even for our internal meetings and communications needs, we encourage the use of video conferencing and Telepresence and avoid air travel whenever possible to reduce carbon footprint. By increasing efficiency and driving the adoption of renewables, we believe we are making a huge difference and demonstrating how green business is good business.

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