Businesses are feeling growing pressure to act on climate change from all angles. However, despite data centres and transmission networks being responsible for nearly 1 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, a new Deloitte study reports little over half (54 per cent) of businesses have converted to energy-efficient technologies.
This number is concerning given emerging digital technologies such as blockchain, IoT, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are increasing demand for data centre services further, as workloads are no longer confined to the core data centre and can run anywhere, including the edge. Australian businesses need to transition to sustainable IT solutions to support these emerging technologies while staying in line with Australia’s new commitment to an emissions reduction target of 43 per cent and net zero emissions by 2050.
New servers form the foundation of sustainable infrastructure, offering greater performance while taking up less space and consuming less energy – driving sustainability goals while enabling industry innovation.
Sustainable IT infrastructure is no longer just a nice-to-have
In the past, businesses sought IT systems that delivered the most ROI or the highest efficiency – however, with new local and global emissions reduction targets in place, this is no longer enough. IT infrastructure must run at the smallest possible carbon footprint with minimum environmental impact to meet Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals and comply with government demands for sustainable innovation.
It’s not just the public sector pushing companies to change. A Google Trends search reveals Australians and New Zealanders are 3rd and 4th most interested in sustainability worldwide, with eight out of ten Australian consumers now expecting businesses to operate sustainably. Four in ten say they’ll stop purchasing from brands that don’t. Consumers want more from companies than they have in the past – and the right IT infrastructure is essential to meeting these expectations. A recent research commissioned by Dell Technologies focused on Gen Z adults aged between 18 to 26 confirms this sentiment. Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z adults in Australia believe technology will play an important role in overcoming the biggest societal challenges, such as the climate crisis.
Transitioning to newer servers can form the basis of a modern, sustainable IT set-up, appeasing customers and keeping pace with government legislation. For example, Dell’s edge servers can operate up to 55 degrees Celsius. This allows the technology to run at warmer temperatures, meaning there’s no need to cool the room down to keep the servers operational, which is true of older server models. The result is advanced power management control and reduced power consumption, which is not just a nice to have; it’s essential.
Enabling emerging tech at the edge
The infrastructure must also support emerging technologies. This is critical in Australia to meet the continuing growth in demand for data and connectivity from industries like agriculture and healthcare that are relying on new tech to operate efficiently over vast swaths of land in remote locations. These industries are embracing emerging technologies, with data processed at the edge, to overcome ongoing supply chain issues in the unique and often harsh Australian climate and landscape.
In rural locations, latency matters, and technology must be brought closer to improve efficiency. However, the most significant opportunity for edge computing in Australia is its ability to support AI and automation, which will support and grow these industries.
For example, TPG Telecom trialed AI-enabled image processing, computer vision and edge computing technologies to enable multiple high-quality 4K video streams to count sheep at a regional livestock exchange, automating the process and removing human error.
In Australian healthcare, individuals seeking services can travel hours to receive critical care. Reports in deeply remote locations say it can take up to 14 hours to reach a fully equipped hospital. Edge computing, together with emerging tech, enables rural access to digital health services and improves operations in major regional hospitals.
Townsville University Hospital in North Queensland is leading by example, harnessing low-latency and high-input/output operations per second (IOPS) storage at the edge to deliver better regional care. The new servers support emerging technologies, including AI, to improve ward management and patient flow reporting systems in a location cut off from cloud computing services available in metropolitan cities. Staff can now perform near real-time reporting, improving efficiency and access to current information to improve outcomes in the remote and indigenous communities it services.
Innovative solutions like these are only possible with efficient servers that can handle high bandwidth and low latency workloads close to the data source. Next-generation technology architectures must support and accelerate modern workloads and serve the industries our economy relies on, whether on-premises in data centres or at the edge in remote locations – and they need to do it while being sustainable.
Supporting sustainable innovation
Dell Technologies’ latest generation of PowerEdge servers support sustainable innovation, providing the foundation for an energy-efficient IT system while enabling emerging tech.
Designed with a focus on environmental sustainability, they’re providing customers with triple the performance over the previous generations of servers. This means more powerful and efficient technology with less floor space required. They’re built with the Dell Smart Cooling suite, which increases airflow and reduces fan power by up to 52 per cent compared to previous generations, delivering performance with less power needed to cool the server.
To further reduce the carbon footprint, the servers use up to 35 per cent recycled plastic and are designed so components can be repaired, replaced, or easily recycled. Customers can also monitor carbon emissions and better manage their sustainability targets using the Dell OpenManage Enterprise Power Manager software.
The new PowerEdge servers are built to excel in demanding tasks, from AI and analytics to massive databases, supporting modern workloads and industry innovation – even in remote Australian locations. The servers can be used as a subscription via Dell APEX. Customers can adopt a flexible approach to avoid the expense of having more computing resources than they need, which is beneficial for increasingly tight budgets and sustainability efforts, reducing unnecessary energy consumption.
With new tech, we can have our cake and eat it too
It seems like asking for a lot; powerful infrastructure that can enable the latest advancements in tech, improve efficiency and support Australian industries operating in remote locations over large geographic areas. We’re asking tech to deliver this while meeting ESG goals and aligning with Australia’s new carbon emissions targets. But the new reality is IT infrastructure must be sustainable while maintaining high performance.
It’s not just a wish list; the tech is available. Adopting next-generation servers that can handle it all will enable Australia to meet its carbon goals while driving the innovation our industries need to thrive.