Sustainability And Efficiency: Sustainability In The IT Industry

Feb 21, 2023
By David Sandars, UK Sales Director, atNorth

David Sandars, UK Sales Director, atNorth
David Sandars, UK Sales Director, atNorth

The data center industry is facing unprecedented challenges right now and there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty for businesses looking to future proof their IT. On one hand, digital data consumption continues to grow at an exponential rate, while on the other, the industry faces additional scrutiny from governments, regulators, mainstream media, lobbyists, and organizations to address long-term sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. Add to this the war in the Ukraine, which has the UK and Europe grappling with skyrocketing wholesale energy costs. 

Now is the time to be creative and take a bold approach to address these challenges.

The Role Of Sustainability In The IT Industry

The global nature of work and life today has presented many opportunities but can also bring challenges for those businesses slow to adapt to the global economy. For the data center industry, this is no more apparent than the increasingly critical role that sustainability and energy play. There is tremendous pressure on reducing emissions while the hike in energy prices adds further fuel to an industry that is fundamentally dependent on power.

While utility companies reassess their grids to cope with demand and electricity provision and regulators and governments pour over policies to tackle these immense changes, businesses need to review their IT infrastructure with great care and urgency. 

Data center development across the Nordics, in particular Iceland, continues at speed where renewable electricity and low carbon power, land resources, and skilled labor are in abundance and present great opportunities. 

Unpacking the Barriers to IT Migration

It may seem an easy move, a no brainer in fact – save money, save the planet. Yet, there are still perceived and very real risks for many businesses to address, from data sovereignty and compliance, to connectivity, resilience, and security considerations.

The complexity of the move project cannot be underestimated. It is not easy to move any IT systems from one data center to another no matter the distance. At atNorth, we have services in place to support our customers and more importantly, we have done it and we continue to work hand in hand with our customers throughout the process. 

Case in Point: BNP Paribas

In fact, we’ve recently partnered with Dell Technologies to help BNP expand its data center operations. With atNorth’s support, BNP successfully moved a portion of its IT estate to atNorth’s data center facility in Iceland. By transitioning to atNorth, BNP can now benefit from 100% renewable energy. The organization has reduced its energy usage by 50%, decreased its CO2 emissions by 85%, and lowered its TCO with a future-proof, environmentally responsible high performance computing strategy that mirrors the organization’s overall business and sustainability goals. 

While no one business operates the same, the working partnership between facilities, IT, networking, and finance is key to the success of any IT transformation, large or small. Add to this the now growing need for new internal stakeholders spanning ESG, Sustainability, and Energy, and even Net Zero Management. These job titles didn’t exist five years’ ago and stand to illustrate how important sustainability has become at board room level, as shareholders increasingly demand an environmentally responsible business focus. 

Start Small, Dream Big

Overhauling the IT infrastructure can seem an intense and daunting process, but the reality is that the future will wait for no man. BNP’s approach to start small with the right partners in place to help it move manageable portions of its IT to new data center locations is clever and acts as a role model for businesses looking to increase ESG credentials, reduce overall cost of electricity consumption, and reach sustainability initiatives. Be brave, be bold.

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