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Microsoft Explains How Innovations Can Help Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Data Centers

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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In an exclusive report titled: “How can innovation reduce the carbon footprint of data centers,” the American multinational technology corporation, Microsoft, has explained how innovations can help reduce the carbon footprint of data centers.

According to the corporation, in a recent report by the International Energy Agency, the global electricity consumption of Datacenters in 2020 was 200 to 250 TWh, about 1% of the world’s final demand for electricity. This does not include the energy consumed by cryptocurrency mining, which was estimated to be over 100 TWh in 2020, an impact that is ultimately less than one may expect.

As a result, the issue of the energy footprint of data centers is a fashionable subject, in corporations have been working on it for a long time. According to Microsoft’s technical and security director, Bernard Ourghanlian, the firm has embarked on this journey for more than a decade.

Explaining why data centers pollute, the firm noted that since 2012, it has been carbon neutral and decided to set an internal carbon tax, where the company’s success has been steady, and the goals have become more challenging. Microsoft has committed to eliminating all carbon emissions directly and indirectly from its founding in 1975 by 2050.

However, from the point of view of data centers, the challenge is twofold. To achieve this, one has to reduce everything that consumes energy: cooling, networks, storage, first, then reduce electronic waste. Therefore, innovation is the key concept here.

Speaking on energy efficiency, Microsoft stated that the data processing factories must be seen to comprehend their environmental impact fully. However, what many people overlook is what is going on in the background.

From the electrical substation, which receives high or medium voltage electricity and converts it to low voltage, to the backup diesel generator, air treatment systems, cooling towers, and air conditioners. Therefore, according to the firm, one needs the Power Usage Effectiveness PUE to calculate the energy efficiency of a data center.

Data storage is another component of data center pollution. According to Microsoft’s technical and safety director, many groundbreaking ideas are still in the research and development stage. Data archiving on quartz glass plates, DNAsynthetic as a high-density storage medium, and even holographic storage to replace current hard drives are among the most promising concepts.

Indeed, the problem of electronic waste is crucial. Servers today have a lifespan of around 5 years. Microsoft wants to get to 7 years as soon as possible; even beyond the lifespan extension; Microsoft has introduced the Circular Center concept to meet the zero waste goal set for 2030. Datacenter hardware reuse and resale, as well as the option of recycling all components. The company’s environmental commitment also generates revenue. Microsoft expects to earn $100 million from selling the gadgets alone.

Another aspect of data center pollution is data storage. Here, many breakthrough innovations are in the research and development phase, more or less advanced, explains the technical and safety director.

Among the most promising projects, we can cite the archiving of data on quartz glass plates, DNAsynthetic as a high-density storage medium, or even holographic storage to replace current hard drives. Therefore, some of these technologies are expected in the coming years, as Bernard Ourghanlian emphasized.

Consequently, the tech giant pointed out that there is a need to reconcile ecological transition with a digital transition within a new technological era based on sustainability. The firm has been investing heavily in research and development to develop innovative technologies. Stay connected with TechGenyz for more technology updates.


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