Why companies are turning to IT solution providers to make their edge computing sites more sustainable

sustainability at the edge

Data processing is energy-intensive work in large centralized data centers and distributed edge computing environments. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), data centers, server rooms, and data transmission networks account for 1-1.5% of global electricity use and nearly 1% of energy-related GHG emissions.

Many organizations have voiced their intentions to improve the sustainability of their energy-intensive data processing operations. However, translating these objectives into tangible actions has been a challenge. Fortunately, over recent years, breakthroughs have occurred − thanks to investor interest, public and customer concern over global warming, regulatory actions, and technological innovation − that enable actionable steps towards lower emissions.

sustainability matters

The 451 Research report “Sustainability at the Edge” validates the high priority of managing sustainable operations for those who manage edge computing sites. According to the report, optimizing energy use and related carbon emissions was the top-cited challenge among more than 40% of respondents.

However, edge management teams have several obstacles to overcome to better control edge computing emissions. According to the 451 report, those issues include a shortage of skilled individuals who can address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, an inability to obtain consistent data and metrics needed to measure energy usage and carbon footprint, and a lack of edge performance and energy consumption monitoring systems.

Stakeholders managing edge computing sites also cited a need for knowledge regarding current and future emissions compliance obligations and clarity regarding the technologies that optimize energy use.

Choosing the right edge computing partner is critical

In response to these challenges, many organizations deploying and managing edge computing sites are tapping into an ecosystem of partners to help them better manage the situation. They look to their partner network for several reasons:

  • They possess ESG expertise – The right partner can help manage the scope of migration to both digitization and improved sustainability by suggesting reliable, compliant, and energy-efficient solutions.
  • They help address the skilled labor gap – New-generation remote management tools enable these partners to monitor equipment performance and energy management, enhancing systems uptime while reducing energy consumption across multiple edge computing sites. This relieves owners of edge sites from having to hire on-site technical experts to manage their edge systems.
  • They support circularity and carbon emissions reduction efforts – Partners such as managed service providers now offer predictive maintenance services. They utilize software that monitors the condition of edge systems in near real-time and analyze the data obtained. Benefits of such an approach include identifying potential failures before they occur, thus enhancing systems uptime. For example, such partners know precisely when a battery in a UPS needs replacement and can avoid replacing batteries too early or too late. This optimizes power usage and reduces electricity bills. Plus, fewer maintenance technicians need to be dispatched on-site to implement fixes, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint associated with travel.


Sustainable edge computing success at Bridgestone

When the world’s leading tire manufacturer Bridgestone and its subsidiary Bandag set out to modernize their edge system server room, local Bandag manufacturing site stakeholders collaborated with Schneider Electric and their partner Bechtle to achieve their goals of equipment consolidation, simplified administration, and improved infrastructure sustainability.

By implementing a new five-rack micro data center edge system, Bandag facilitated a circular economy in each of its businesses through resource circulation, reduction of CO2 emissions, and carbon neutral activities   ̶ while reinvesting those benefits and value sustainably back into their businesses.

What to look for in a partner

When implementing sustainability initiatives at edge computing locations, the selection of the right ecosystem of partners is critical. Look for organizations with a mature network of trained sustainability partners who offer “Green Premium” products (which formally document energy consumption and CO2 emissions data). Also, consider manufacturers who have successfully implemented their own internal corporate sustainability strategies and possess deep knowledge of sustainability and digitization (which work hand-in-hand).

For more information

To learn more, download the detailed findings of the 451 “Sustainability at the Edge” report, and discover how organizations are addressing sustainability challenges related to edge computing.

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