One such data center could be the facility operated by T-Systems in Magdeburg-Biere, in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. This is Germany’s largest data center and is effectively the ‘home’ of the Open Telekom Cloud. The facility has been awarded LEED Gold certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), has a storage capacity of several hundred petabytes and is one of the ten greenest data centers on the planet. In terms of energy efficiency, T-Systems is a pioneer; with a PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) rating of 1.3, the Magdeburg-Biere site consumes around 30 percent less energy than comparable data centers – resulting in a significant drop in CO2 emissions.
Where T-Systems’ environmental footprint is concerned, though, the company’s continued efforts to consolidate its data center landscape have had the most profound impact. Six years ago, T-Systems operated 92 data centers around the world. But simply by reducing this figure to just 13, the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary has been able to cut its operational CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent.
Specifically in Magdeburg-Biere, the cooling systems alone reduce the facility’s power consumption to a level that is considered as a blueprint for the next generation of data centers worldwide. A special mix of technology and architecture means that for around 300 days a year, the servers at the twin-core data center can be maintained at their ideal temperature using open air or adiabatic cooling only. As Johannes Krafczyk, Senior Engagement Manager at T-Systems, explains, “There is nothing more to this than evaporative cooling. In concrete terms, moisture is added to the incoming outside air via cooling towers on the roof, and this air is fed into the server rooms. We only switch on cooling units for support on the very hottest days of the year.” Using nothing more than this clever ‘trick’, T-Systems has reduced energy consumption by 30 percent versus data centers which use conventional cooling technology. An important point, given that the price of electricity remains by far the largest cost factor in the operation of data centers – accounting for half of the total operating costs alone.
But it is not merely a question of using less and greener electricity. It would be at least as beneficial to feed the heat energy generated by data centers into local heating networks. Until now, this energy has all too often been simply released into the surrounding environment as unused waste heat. But here, too, T-Systems is already planning to connect the data center to the district heating network, which is constantly being expanded in eastern Germany. These examples illustrate the direction of travel when it comes to transforming data centers in a way that embraces both edge computing and green IT.