Sustainability at the Edge
The Gap Between Enterprise Plans and Sustainability Programs for Core and Distributed IT
For many enterprises, IT deployments are in flux. Traditionally, data and workloads were stored in centralized enterprise datacenters, with some smaller deployments in regional facilities. Now, companies have data and workloads outside of core enterprise datacenters, in centralized public cloud sites, leased data centers and at edge locations. This is often due to the amount of data being created in edge locations that requires local storage or compute, such as for latency reasons, or when customers or employees need access to data nearby and using a central datacenter or public cloud region would add latency and impact performance.
Putting workloads at the edge means that organizations increasingly need to add infrastructure at the edge to store and analyze data, as well as network connectivity to transport the data to the core. We estimate global electricity used by IT equipment in edge settings (server rooms, micro datacenters, datacenters with <100kW of power) at 140 terawatt hours in 2021. This is growing rapidly, as IoT and 5G applications produce increasing amounts of data that is stored near devices. Projections from Schneider Electric estimate datacenter energy consumption at 2,700 terawatt hours by 2040, with 60% of that consumption from distributed sites. This means more equipment, more power use and, therefore, more to keep track of.
At the same time, enterprises around the world are looking to improve their carbon footprint and sustainability profile while the growing amount of distributed IT has an increasing impact on the environment.
We wanted to determine whether enterprises are starting to include distributed IT in their sustainability plans and what might distinguish enterprises that are more advanced in this effort. In addition, we thought it would be helpful to examine what steps firms typically take as they set up programs to measure, monitor and improve sustainability for their I equipment.
To answer these questions and develop a maturity curve regarding sustainability for enterprises’ IT infrastructure, Schneider Electric commissioned 451 Research/S&P Global Market Intelligence to conduct a study on enterprise sustainability and distributed IT and edge datacenters. They surveyed IT decision-makers from more than 1,150 enterprises based in China, France, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S.
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