AI and SustainabilitySoftware defined storage for AI data servers.
PEAK:AIO playing its part by reducing the impact of growing AI power demands by as much as 6:1
The use of AI technology has become an essential part of our daily lives, and with it comes a significant impact on the environment. The energy consumption and carbon emissions generated by AI focused data centers and server rooms are a growing concern as technology continues to advance.
The latest AI server of choice by itself demands over 11KWs of power, a single server, imagine a real-life cluster with all the associated elements such as network and storage. As AI solutions and research moves forward the pressure on data centers, whether in-house or large off-site, is tremendous, if not impossible to resource in some cases.
According to a report by the International Energy Agency, data centers accounted for approximately 1% of global electricity consumption in 2020, and this number is expected to increase in the coming years. Therefore, it is essential to explore sustainable solutions to reduce the environmental impact of data centers.
One way to mitigate this impact is by consolidating servers, unfortunately high-performance storage, a necessary element of an AI solution, is synonymous with using large amounts of server power.
If we look at a leading vendors’ solution in this space, the storage solution would consist of 6-12 servers. When this is within an isolated organisation, that may be acceptable, however, now AI is a growing market scaling at pace, the sustainability impact of this is massive.
Sustainability was a key design focus of PEAK:AIO and ‘delivering HPC level performance within a small footprint’ has been the strapline from day one. One single server, providing the performance of what would previously often be six or more.
Consider the sustainability benefits of consolidating storage servers with a 6:1 ratio
One of the most significant sustainability benefits of using 1 rack server instead of 6 is the reduction in energy consumption. In a traditional setup, each server would require its own power supply, cooling system, and network adapter. This results in a significant amount of energy consumption that adds up quickly when multiple servers are used.
By consolidating 6 servers into a single rack server, energy consumption is significantly reduced. A single server requires less energy to power and cool than 6 servers combined, leading to lower overall carbon emissions. In addition, newer server models have improved energy efficiency features, such as power-saving modes and intelligent cooling, which further reduce energy consumption and costs.
Reducing energy consumption also results in a significant reduction in carbon emissions. The use of electricity generated from non-renewable sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas is a major contributor to carbon emissions, which have been linked to climate change. By consolidating servers and reducing energy consumption, organizations can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), data centers in the United States consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2019, which is equivalent to the annual output of 34 large (500-megawatt) coal-fired power plants. The report also projected that the energy consumption of US data centers could increase to 140 billion kWh per year by 2030 if energy efficiency measures are not implemented.
The NRDC report highlights the importance of energy efficiency measures and sustainable practices in the operation of data centers, as well as the need for policies and regulations that promote energy conservation and sustainability in the digital infrastructure sector.
Now add in the ‘newer’ and evolving mass adoption of AI – think ChatGPT, a single project with significant global resource.
Another sustainability benefit of using 1 rack server instead of 6 is the efficient use of space. A traditional server setup requires a significant amount of physical space to house the servers, which can be costly and environmentally inefficient. With 6 servers, the space required can quickly add up, and in many cases, it can become a limiting factor for organizations.
By consolidating servers, organizations can free up valuable real estate within a data center or server room. This can enable more efficient use of space and potentially avoid the need for expanding facilities or building new ones. In addition, a smaller server setup can also make it easier to manage and maintain the servers, leading to additional cost savings.
The use of fewer servers also results in a reduction in e-waste. E-waste is a growing environmental concern as electronic devices continue to become more prevalent in our lives. The manufacturing, maintenance, and disposal of hardware components such as power supplies, cooling fans, and network adapters contribute to e-waste, which can have significant environmental impacts.
By using 1 rack server instead of 6, organizations can reduce the number of hardware components required, leading to a reduction in e-waste. This can contribute to a more sustainable future by reducing the environmental impact associated with the manufacturing, maintenance, and disposal of electronic devices.
Finally, consolidating servers can result in significant cost savings for organizations. The purchase, maintenance, and operational costs of 6 servers are much higher than those of a single server. By using fewer servers, organizations can save money on hardware purchases, software licenses, and ongoing maintenance costs.
In addition, a smaller server setup can also lead to cost savings in terms of space, energy, and cooling costs. This can free up resources that can be used for other sustainability initiatives, such as renewable energy projects or sustainable transportation.