'Create the definition,' says Datacloud circular economy panel

'Create the definition,' says Datacloud circular economy panel

DC panel 1.jpg

Day one of the 2023 Datacloud Global Congress kicked off today at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

Among the expo demonstrations, closed door meetings and drinks receptions, thought leaders from across the data centre, cloud and edge ecosystem took to the stage to discuss some of the biggest talking points affecting the sector.

These ranged from enterprise cloud vs on premise, diversity and inclusion, talent and M&A and finance. One of the biggest reoccurring themes was that of ESG, primarily sustainability. One of the first panels of the event saw Elodie Michaels, Business unit director at CBRE; Mats Andersson, CMO at Lefdal Mine Datacenter; Garry Connolly, founder at Host in Ireland; Christophe Hein, sales and marketing at TotalEnergies; Danielle Rossi, Global Director of mission critical cooling at Trane; and moderator Shawn Novak, CSO at nZero, explore a circular economy approach to data centre operations.

Gleaning from her own personal experiences, Michaels, who is American but grew up in France, says that before sustainability approaches like circular economy can be implemented, "we need to change the culture" adding that "We're not going to get anywhere. If you can't convince them that there's something good about it and that for the businesses, that there are cost savings".

Her goal, as she put it, is to work with engineering firms that are providing CBRE with new innovations and solutions, not that that simply "redo the same data centre because it's easy and because it is working".

Rossi says there is going to two sides to this type of circular economy approach and getting companies to buy into it, or 'the carrot and the stick' as she puts it.

"You have the carrot that says if you do this, you will get access to these incentives. And then you have the stick that says, if you don't do this, you get penalised."

She also believes that technology will naturally drive this approach as high performance compute that creates those higher water temperatures, reuse will become more prevalent.

Connolly referred back to the Five-nines availability metric that was used more regularly in previous years but has now become more of a general requirement or expectation, similar to that of using renewable energy, Connolly that circular economy will to become part of the requirements.

But once it does become more embedded into the ecosystem, Connolly says that data centres and indeed the wider digital infrastructure community are going to have to do what they've historically been bad at, and that's engaging the greater society.

"Look where its landed us," he said. "Nuclear bombs, great white sharks and data centres are all said in the same sentence and creates fear in communities."

Part of this also requires a change in the lagunaeg we use, to make it more accessible and better understood to the groups we are trying to engage with, he jokingly quipped that PUE should mean, "please use English!"

Over at TotalEnergies, Hein says they are leveraging partnerships with models that see each company contributing to circular economy, knowledge sharing and data publishing "to be able to offer them what everybody knows better in each chain".

Collaboration is key according to Mats, and though no one will be giving away any precious IP, he says that "we share our knowledge and learnings. we have projects from all over the world coming to us to learn what we're doing, not only on sustainability but across all our projects."

This sentiment was shared by the panel moderator, Novak who added, "we all talk and share ideas it's important that we actually implement that those ideas that we're sharing. That's what's going to make all this full circle."

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