The world is increasingly dependent on critical data infrastructure, driving demand for more data centre capacity as well as faster networks to move data around. Traffic volumes are set to reach something in the ballpark of 25 zettabytes by 2025, four times the levels of 2016. More data obviously equates to higher demand for electricity to power and cool the infrastructure that manages the flow of information. In fact forecasts indicate that within five years, one fifth of the world's electricity could be consumed just in powering our data centres. So what does this mean in terms of environmental impact, given that data centres and associated connectivity already account for something like 3% of all carbon emissions? New approaches are needed and they are needed fast.
For a start, it's time to rethink where we locate infrastructure, argues Mattias Fridstrom, vice president and chief evangelist at Telia Carrier.