climate change COP26

Server Cooling after COP26 – What do we do now?

The recent COP 26 meeting has underscored what we already know: the earth is getting hotter, and it is time for us all to do something about it. What does this mean for server cooling when the demand for IT functions increases exponentially? What are the implications for businesses for whom IT functions are essential? What are the first steps to addressing the reduction of emissions created by cooling servers?

COP26 and Climate Change

The Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow last month was a United Nations climate change meeting to continue the dialogue about climate change amongst the parties and to attempt a consensus and a global action plan for the year ahead. Action on climate change within the UN has been building since COP 21 in Paris in 2015 Where the exponential rise in the earth’s temperature as unsustainable for long-term viability was discussed. At COP26, the parties agreed that continued collective action was required to stop this from happening. A more significant commitment was needed from the parties to reduce global warming to below 2 degrees. COP26 attempted to commit to strategies for achieving Net Zero emissions within individual states. The conference reported progress in 4 areas: Mitigation; Adaption; Finance, and Collaborationiii. While each nation has the responsibility for setting its targets and plans and for enforcing them, COP 26 demonstrates the intensification of the global commitment to reducing emissions and halting the rise of global warming.

While there is always debate about the efficacy of global and national plans and targets, their existence is essential for establishing legal imperatives and moral and social implications. The notion that ‘we’ as individuals and businesses can ‘do our bit’ to offset the consumption that is having a detrimental effect on the health and viability of the planet is gaining traction.

So, what can we do in terms of Server Cooling to support reducing Global Warming?

Active steps to reduce emissions create a conflict for server cooling and the IT function within businesses because IT forms the skeleton and structure of most modern companies. Within any IT function, there is software and hardware. The software allows all enterprises to interact both internally and externally. Hardware provides the platform for software to operate. Servers are the basic building bricks of hardware, and servers get hot when working. The volume of servers and patches that support software updates is increasing due to the ubiquity of computer processing in business. Edge computing has emerged as a local conduit between companies and data stored in remote servers and data centres. Therefore, the increase in server volume means more heat is generated in and by workplaces. Traditionally, server rooms in offices are actively cooled by air conditioning systems that use CFC gases and refrigerants, contributing to global warming.

What are the implications of COP 26 action plans for Businesses?

In the UK, all enterprises have emissions targets to meet by 2050v. Therefore, meeting emissions targets is not a matter of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ and ‘how’. Where mandatory targets and requirements exist, businesses can either embrace the concepts and prepare for changes or avoid the process, create delays, and provide the minimum compliance at the last minute. If the spirit of COP26 is a spirit of action and positive change, then incorporating that spirit is both positive and proactive. Businesses now can begin lowering emissions already by actively understanding the process. One of the most significant issues resulting from a failure to actively address reducing emissions within firms is the consequences for reputation.

What can Businesses do for Global Warming by rethinking Server Cooling?

Businesses can look for alternatives to standard air conditioning for server cooling. By rethinking the server room, companies can review the carbon footprint of offices and the amount of air conditioning used for cooling servers locally. Companies can investigate new products that will provide energy-efficient alternatives. Existing server cooling solutions can be upgraded and replaced with server cooling solutions from suppliers who are actively and routinely updating products with ‘greener’ parts and using alternative gases. Businesses can also source UK made server cooling products where manufacturing and delivery have lower emissions. Therefore, achieving energy efficiencies in server cooling can be a small piece of the climate change puzzle for businesses. Small steps by all companies can make a big difference and make the sentiment of the COP26 and all other meetings like it a reality.