Data center leaders met in Amsterdam to discuss important questions about sustainability and data protection impacting the industry’s growth.
Collaboration often leads to great progress, so staff from Sims Lifecycle Services (SLS) were excited to join 1,200 colleagues from 25 countries at KickStart Europe 2022. The event examined the trends and challenges that impact digital infrastructure, data centers and the cloud, and was organized by Digital Gateway to Europe and the Dutch Data Center Association. SLS was proud to join our colleagues from, among others, CBRE, Schneider Electronics and Eaton as event sponsors.
Speakers emphasized that Europe’s data center industry has many opportunities for substantial growth in respond to increasing demand. Operators are struggling to meet the demands of large customers who have a “seemingly insatiable appetite for capacity”, according to the event organizers. While doing this, the industry is recognizing its role as a key partner in achieving sustainability goals and contributing to important discussions around privacy and data protection. Growth needs to be sustainable and must take into account the increasing calls for data sovereignty, as an explosion of data is created for new applications.
SLS’ Willem Huskies joined Ralf Ploenes from Legrand Data Center Solutions and Steven Sprokholt from EdgeConnex to discuss “The roadmap to a circular economy” by looking at how data centers can tweak their operations to become more sustainable. Willem noted that operators and users need to shift their mindset and consider the important role that treatment of end-of-life electronics play in limiting Scope 3 emissions, saying we need to, “start measuring, start calculating, and that at that point we can move forward.” He mentioned a recent study in which 36% of the respondents said they are only using new equipment in their data centers. Reusing equipment presents a huge opportunity to contribute to the circular economy. Willem also believes that large hyperscalers who build their own equipment need to start designing for reuse so that sustainability is considered in a similar manner to performance and cost.
Responsible energy consumption is a key concern for data center operators given today’s high cost of power. Interxion’s Jan-Pieter Anten, Group Managing Director EMEA, pointed out that the industry is innovating, “to work together to try to be very energy efficient and also very environmentally savvy. Think about water, reuse of equipment, and everything in line with the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact”. To do this, he said, sustainability needs to be at the heart of each business, and not just a talking point used to appeal to customers. COVID-related supply chain shortages are being compounded by emerging ones including the crisis in Ukraine, an important producer of spare parts for IT equipment. Here, again, the reuse of parts provides an excellent solution.
Speakers also reinforced the need for innovating legacy systems and diversifying the locations of new data centers. Expansion in existing locations will come from campus growth and the use of higher density buildings, better constructed to provide more responsible energy consumption. FLAP (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris) is struggling to keep up with demand due to difficulties securing land, generating adequate power and addressing supply chain issues. We are seeing an expansion of data centers beyond FLAP in “tier two” and “tier three” locations. Berlin, Dublin, Madrid, Milan, Stockholm, Warsaw and Zurich are emerging as prominent data center locations, situated closer to users in areas where it is easier to secure adequate land and power. Continued growth in these locations can also help address some data sovereignty and privacy concerns.
Our team left the conference energized and excited about the opportunities that exist to create a circular economy for data center equipment in Europe and globally. We’ll continue these discussions with our peers and clients at conferences and trade shows throughout the year.
To learn more about these upcoming events, please visit https://www.simslifecycle.com/blog/sls-on-the-road/.