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Can Green Colocation Help Businesses Meet and Prove Sustainability Measures? 

With the ethical and legislative need to offset carbon emissions at the forefront of commercial strategies, business and technology leaders alike are investing more environmentally friendly paths to digital transformation.

The colocation market has emerged at the front of pack, pioneering the way for sustainability initiatives and reporting accountability with the ability to answer many of the concerns that organisations are currently debating.

Here are three key ways that sustainable colocation providers are uniquely placed to help businesses achieve their sustainability objectives.

1. Colocation data centres are leading in sustainability investment 

You’ll have noticed the phrase “green data centres” cropping up more frequently.

The movement toward reducing the environmental impact of critical data centre activities is being taken seriously by green colocation providers and their customers alike, with substantial action being taken to achieve sustainable data centre design.

Colocation providers, Node4 included, acknowledge their position as big energy consumers and as central players in IT infrastructure. They are heavily investing in ways to balance responsible resource consumption with customer requirements.

This is of course due to ethical commitment – today, for brands, their boards and employees, sustainability is simply the right thing to do, but it is also driven by commercial interests.

Prioritising sustainability can streamline energy spend but most importantly, it’s extremely important to attracting and retaining you – their potential customer. 74% of colocation customers expect contractually-binding energy efficiency and sustainability commitment. This is no surprise given the imperative of demonstrable sustainability policies in 2022 and beyond and organisations of certain size and sector are required to legally prove their sustainability credentials, extending to their IT demands.

What we see with sustainable colocation providers is this expectation translating into purposeful action in a way that isn’t meaningfully replicated in pure public or private cloud services.

What makes colocation sustainable? 

Green Colocation providers are investing in the following strategies to increase data centre sustainability:

  • The latest cooling technologies from sustainably-focused supply chain partners
  • The use of efficient devices and power saving configurations
  • Strategic hardware lifecycle management and disposal
  • Competitive PUEs (power usage effectiveness)
  • Innovative water and electricity waste management
  • Power generated from renewable sources where possible
  • The most far-reaching sustainability policies

Of course, as a customer you benefit from these colocation “green data centre” investments without having to foot the bill yourself. Simply by placing some of your IT workloads into a colocation facility, you can move closer to meeting sustainability obligations while also ensuring maximum performance from your IT.

2. Colocation providers are transparent and highly accountable

Meeting sustainability obligations is one challenge, but proving action and results is another.

Conscious of the resources their activities consume, IT infrastructure and solution providers – from public cloud platforms to SaaS services and dedicated private cloud environments – are making public commitments to making their operations greener.

But it’s colocation customers who have the highest level of confidence in the energy consumption and sustainability credentials of their provider. Those customers who use a provider that owns, manages and operates their data centre facilities (like Node4) benefit from even greater sustainability transparency and accountability.

This is quite simply due to control, visibility and accuracy. When placing IT workloads into a sustainable colocation facility, the systems and people reporting on energy consumption and waste are quite literally at the source. Both you and they have full, physical access to your hardware, giving the provider  a complete, immersive overview of the site from which is it deployed.

For customers, this means exceptionally granular sustainability data and reporting of the highest accuracy that’s exactly specified to both your workloads and the site itself. Public and private cloud providers may be able to offer estimates of your individual use and targets for their sites, but the disparate nature of their services inevitably means grey areas.

Colocation means total faith in this data, too. Due to myriad, complex monitoring systems, regulatory requirements such as ISO 50001 (Energy Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and utility provider verifications, customers can check and compare against their policies.

Where a provider owns, manages and operates a facility, sustainability data from across the supply chain that feeds your IT workloads may also be available.

3. Colocation facilities offer insights into your own IT resource 

In a colocation facility, your equipment is placed in a dedicated rack using the provider’s connections to the cloud.

If maintaining your equipment via the provider (some colocation customers use their own maintenance resource), performance and energy consumption data can be consolidated into a dashboard, with overall site data completing the picture. When combined, you have access to the best possible insight into your sustainability position and can visualise opportunities to improve it.

When working with an end-to-end provider, which Node4 is, you can also benefit from tailored hardware advice which may result in energy consumption or tech waste reductions.

Greener data centres are continually investing in the best technology to deliver sustainability gains, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you as a customer must make similar (and costly upgrades). It may be that your current hardware is perfectly appropriate for the workloads it’s required to run, so deploying from a sustainable colocation facility is means enough to deliver on digital transformation without incurring waste.

For more about our Tier 3, expert-led, fully owned and operated colocation facilities, click here. Or to arrange a consultation, click here.