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DropBox data centres powered by 100% renewable energy

Written by Thu 12 Aug 2021

DropBox has announced that as of now, they have reached their sustainability goal and are using 100% renewable energy to power DropBox data centres.

The company achieved this goal with a three-pronged strategy: maximizing power utilization effectiveness (PUE), optimizing consumption, and sourcing renewable energy.

Optimizing PUE was accomplished by utilizing outside air economization, bringing cooler outdoor air into the data centre to reduce the amount of power dedicated to keeping the data centre at an operational temperature. DropBox then prioritized thermal containment at their facilities, retrofitting existing data centres to eliminate inefficiencies in airflow and reduce wasted energy. They also optimized airflow in new construction, to ensure that data centres lived up to their new containment standards.

Finally, DropBox managed usage to maintain an 85% capacity rate, which they determined to be optimal for efficiency but still allow enough flexibility to manage occasional power spikes. Through these practices, DropBox was able to achieve an average PUE 17% lower than the industry average for data centres.

Reducing overall power usage included creating an automated workflow that automatically decommissioned servers, which the company estimates saves 5% in power over each server’s lifespan.  Finally, the company decided to reduce power usage in idle servers with a new state called HDD Standby. In HDD Standby, a server can still be identified as available for service allocation, even when disk drives are not spinning. DropBox also optimized orchestration and diversified hardware to improve density.

Finally, DropBox is investing in using renewable energy, not just in their own data centres but also through data centres they’ve partnered with for colocation and other data centre services. To that end, the company has reduced the data centre carbon footprint by 15% over the past 18 months while utilizing renewables and making the direct power consumption of data centres 100% carbon neutral.

DropBox finished its announcement with a call-to-action for other leaders in the data centre industry. “As more companies begin their sustainability journey, we challenge them: Don’t take the easy way out and only look for carbon offsets! We believe that all companies can look internally and find other ways to minimize their carbon footprint in the data centre space. “

Written by Thu 12 Aug 2021


carbon footprint optimisation renewables
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