FINAL WORD from control loop optimization to liquid cooling options , especially as high-performance computing ( HPC ) and AI / ML applications become more ubiquitous and demanding in heat dissipation requirements . Air cooling systems simply can ’ t keep up with the cooling needs of continually evolving , higher-density racks for these next-gen workloads .
Honeywell ’ s Senior Data Center Director ,
As data center operators struggle to scale up across different geographies , they face a range of ever-stricter local and national regulatory landscapes . Many of these include increasingly rigorous sustainability and ESG financial reporting standards that will phase in over this decade .
Governments including Ireland , the Netherlands and Singapore are requiring owners and operators to submit a detailed sustainability plan before granting them approval to build a new facility or expand an existing one . Singapore , in fact , imposed a moratorium on new data center projects in 2019 and kept it in place until January 2022 . Applicants for new projects must now explain how they will meet tough new standards enacted to protect the nation ’ s land , water and renewable energy resources .
Increasingly , governments are expecting data centers to measure and disclose their carbon footprint and demonstrate progress towards reductions . There are numerous ways to reduce carbon emissions – no one size fits all – but cost and new technologies usually factor into the equation . Among these , operators are evaluating a variety of energy optimization techniques ,
Liquid cooling leverages the higher thermal transfer properties of special fluids , providing as much as 3,000 times the efficiency of air cooling . With more and more businesses integrating HPC applications driven by AI – which require tremendous computing power – operators are realizing that the time has arrived to seriously incorporate liquid cooling in their architecture and roadmap .
The human element : a looming talent shortage
Not least among data center challenges is a widening skills gap and the ongoing ‘ Great Resignation ’. Some see this as a result of the industry ’ s ineffective efforts to actively recruit and retain talent from the vocational schools over the last two decades . The industry is also dealing with an ageing workforce of subject matter experts – those qualified to teach entry-level employees – many of whom will retire within the next 10 years . Yet GenZ workers who have the skills and aptitude to pursue such a career are not seeing careers in data centers as an attractive option . Nevertheless , there are promising initiatives in the industry to source candidates from a pool of disciplined and well-qualified military veterans .
As operators develop plans for the year ahead , they should be considering strategies for scaling up intelligently , reining in OPEX and prioritizing sustainability efforts . They should also take a hard look at how they can make the profession – and their facilities – more attractive to the next generation of talent . p
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