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Opinion piece: What the Metaverse means for sustainable datacentres of the future

South Africa


By George Senzere, solution architect: Secure Power at Schneider Electric

As it currently stands, global data creation and reproduction are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% by 2025 says an IDC Global DataSphere report. This rate of growth has the potential to outpace the growth of datacentre capacity over the same timeframe.

Throw the Metaverse into the mix, and we are going to need a lot of datacentres.  And whilst there is still a lot of work to be done to fully leverage this new iteration of the Internet, organisations and datacentres providers must start planning for the future of data growth, sustainably.


The world’s datacentres already represent one percent of the world’s electricity use estimates renowned publisher, Science, and although the industry has achieved incredible efficiency improvements over the past decade, it’s unclear if those gains can continue to offset datacentre energy demands in the years to come.


Pair it with the high-capacity IT infrastructure needed to support the idea of the Metaverse, and it’s clear that sustainable edge datacentres are more crucial than ever.


Business leaders must prioritise sustainability is part of their datacentre expansions; analysing and understanding the equipment and infrastructure currently in place and implementing frameworks to measure its environmental impact.


Planning for data expansion and the Metaverse


The time is now to start investing in technologies that are energy efficient and resilient.  In a country which continues to face daily energy provision supply challenges, it’s important to standardise metrics that will in turn help with adoption, improved benchmarking, and sustainability within the industry.


Recent conversations with industry leaders, especially in the hyperscale and colocation markets, inspired Schneider Electric to develop a standard that will allow for sustainable datacentres.  This culminated in a white paper, Guide to Environmental Sustainability Metrics for Data Centers, that lays out a set of 23 key metrics.


These 23 metrics are sorted into five categories spanning the full spectrum of environmental sustainability, and they’re ranked across three levels of achievement: Beginning, Advanced, and Leading.


The list of 23 metrics combines the basics, such as total energy consumption and PUE, with more sophisticated measurements, such as hour-by-hour supply and consumption matching and mean species abundance for biodiversity.


Whilst the five categories go into considerable detail, the Beginning, Advanced and Leading levels of achievement can be simplified as follow:



Starting the journey:

  • Raise awareness on climate crisis.
  • Make first commitments.
  • Limited scope and ambition.
  • Identify discrepancies between corporate strategy and climate ambition.



Deliver significant individual impact:

  • Set science-based targets.
  • Reduce direct and indirect footprint.
  • Develop low-carbon products and services.
  • Provide transparency on action plan.



Reshape industry towards net-zero:

• Evolve competitive advantage.

• Redefine industry business models.

• Lead value chain decarbonisation.

• Drive value chain mobilisation.


Organisations and datacentre designers and operators are in the ideal position to make a significant difference due to its high-energy intensity, rapid growth, large power consumption and water usage that in turn require specialised metrics.  It is an industry that can truly lead by example.

South Africa

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