Environmental impact of data centers.

A new study, from DigiPlex, shows how quickly the environmental impact of data centers is becoming a massive concern.

Article by Information Age – 17 Sept 2018

It seems there is a perfect storm brewing in the world of data centers.

According to an aptly titled study from DigiPlex, the data center operator, and IDG Connect, the environmental impact of data centers is becoming a major concern. Interestingly, the last time this study was conducted in 2016, ‘sustainability’ was listed at the very bottom of the challenges business saw in their data centers. Today, sustainability is the fourth most pressing data center concern. joining energy, operating costs and security at the top.

However, if it is true that business leaders are really interested in sustainable data centers, it’s hard to fathom what the survey also reveals about their need for information/clarity in regards to their data. DigiPlex found that 60% of businesses surveyed were not certain in which countries their data resides – a staggering figure considering the potential impact this has on a data center’s value or carbon impact.

Data centers now have the same carbon footprint as the airline industry. According to an article in the Independent in 2016, in 2015 all the world’s data centers used 416.2 Terawatt hours of electricity far higher than the whole of the UK’s total consumption. To make matters worse, energy used by Data Centers is doubling every four years, according to Ian Bitterlin, a visiting professor at the University of Leeds.

Gisle M. Eckhoff, CEO at DigiPlex, said: “I am amazed that 60% of the respondents are still not sure in which country their data resides. Given the incredible impact location can have on a data center’s operation, security and value, this ignorance is dangerous and costly.”


In Greenpeace’s 2017 green IT report many players in the industry were urged to improve advocacy and transparency, and, importantly, to work more collaboratively. At the same time, their report gave high scores to larger organisations or ‘hyper-scalers’, such as Google, for their adoption or renewable energy.