How Can Edge Computing Be Used to Improve Sustainability?




Edge computing is valued for its ability to decentralize data processing and minimize latency for end users no matter where they’re located. But did you know edge computing can also have positive implications for sustainability? Let’s explore the ways edge computing can be used to improve sustainability, from maximizing efficiency to empowering monitoring and conservation.

Choosing the right cooling solution for your data center is critical to ongoing  efficiency and maintenance.

Sustainability Concerns in the Data Center Industry

Data centers consume an immense amount of energy (about 10-50 times that of a typical commercial office building of the same size), which can add up to a significant environmental footprint. As the world’s computing demands have soared over the years, data centers are accounting for more and more of global energy consumption.

That poses a concern for sustainability efforts—a concern that the industry recognizes. Data center stakeholders are focusing on ways to lessen data centers’ impact on the environment. For example, carbon emissions, water usage, and construction methods have all been areas of focus for improving efficiency and minimizing environmental impact.

Edge computing has been another hot topic in the industry, and it’s beginning to enter the sustainability conversation as another means of improving the relationship between data centers and the environment.

Sustainability Benefits of Edge Computing

Edge computing has made high-speed processing possible for end users throughout the network, even for those hundreds of miles from large data center hubs. In addition to delivering real-time data processing, edge computing also has some potential benefits for the environment. So, how can edge computing be used to improve sustainability? Let’s look at three major ways.

Reduced Energy Consumption

Edge computing minimizes the need for data to travel back and forth to centralized servers, which reduces energy consumption in data transmission. Processing data closer to the source cuts down on the overall energy required for that processing.

Edge data centers also tend to be smaller facilities with less intense needs for energy-consuming systems such as cooling infrastructure. It has been shown that the average edge computing facility was one-third of the size of the average core data center.

Efficient Use of Resources

Unlike general-purpose servers that often run a variety of applications simultaneously, edge devices are typically optimized for specific functions. This specialization leads to better resource allocation, as the hardware and software can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of the intended task.

Improved Monitoring and Conservation

It isn’t just the nuts and bolts of edge computing that make it a win for sustainability. It can also empower many sustainability efforts through real-time remote monitoring. This type of monitoring is particularly useful in fields like agriculture, energy, and environmental monitoring. Low-latency processing made possible through edge computing allows for more accurate and immediate responses to conserve resources, optimize energy use, and prevent waste.

Real-time monitoring of a building's performance—including its energy consumption, emissions, and operational efficiency—can also provide helpful information for achieving a sustainability-focused certification such as LEED.

Supporting Sustainability at the Edge Through Modular Data Centers

Edge data centers play a critical role in today’s IT world, and as we’ve seen, edge computing can be used to improve sustainability in meaningful ways.

Edge data centers can take many forms, but one you’re sure to see is the modular data center (MDC). MDCs are an excellent choice for edge data centers due to advantages such as fast deployment and ultimate scalability. They’re also compact and designed for optimal efficiency. Because these data center units offer sustainability and efficiency advantages of their own, they can further enhance the environmental potential of edge data centers.

Want to learn more about the benefits of modular construction at the edge? Check out The Complete Guide to MDCs for Edge Computing.


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