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How CyrusOne is Working to Provide Sustainability for Hyperscale Data Centers
How CyrusOne is Working to Provide Sustainability for Hyperscale Data Centers

By Rhett Gill · 8/3/2021

The History of CyrusOne

Since 2001, CyrusOne has competed at the forefront of the data center industry as a respected leader and innovator. Today, their portfolio includes more than 40 enterprise-class facilities across 3 continents, and more than 4 million square feet of total net rentable square footage.

CyrusOne is also known for introducing industry firsts such as the CyrusOne National Internet Exchange (IX) interconnection platform, Massively Modular® data center engineering and an online purchasing interface known as Data Center Marketplace. And in 2013, CyrusOne began trading on the NASDAQ Exchange under the symbol CONE.

We recently spoke with Matt Pullen, the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Europe for CyrusOne, about the current state of CyrusOne operations and what the future holds for them and other data center operators.

Pullen is responsible for driving the growth of CyrusOne’s operations in Europe and delivering the very best in data center excellence to CyrusOne’s hyperscale and enterprise customers worldwide. And as he shared with us, in addition to continuing to promote excellence across everything that CyrusOne delivers, the company is also eagerly searching for answers to what everyone continues to ask about the environmental impact of data centers around the world.

The Sustainability Question

With some of the largest companies in the world as their customers, CyrusOne is invariably a part of the sustainability commitments made by their clients. Pullen makes it clear that sustainability isn’t just something CyrusOne looks at passively — they’re committed to leading the conversation.

The data centers CyrusOne builds today will hopefully serve customers for decades to come, meaning that data centers aren’t just responsible for responding to today’s sustainability questions, but tomorrow’s as well. As Pullen explains, if we concentrate on solving yesterday’s problems, we’ll be locking ourselves into data center designs and systems that may be ill suited for the environmental challenges of the future. With ever-increasing demands, solutions won’t come easy.

Pullen shares that some data centers used to view 40-50% utilization as high, but now CyrusOne has customers who will run close to 100% utilization. Considering that customers have their own corporate targets, the responsibility rests on Pullen and his team to make sure they’re providing the most efficient data centers out there.

At the end of the day, data center utilization rates are reaching unprecedented heights. So in addition to maintaining an adequate PUE and water utilization efficiency, CyrusOne has to work with density numbers jumping from 7.5 kW per rack to around 12.5 kW per rack and the increase in the stress on cooling efficiency that brings with it. The conversation for a solution, Pullen shares, is still ongoing.

Data centers will have to communicate with local governments to get on the same page about whether data centers operating at a higher temperature may be an operational option or if there are other solutions out there. Whether governments will step in with regulatory measurements or if they’ll allow data centers to continue to self-regulate is yet to be seen.

If data center providers hope to determine their own future, they’ll have to act fast. While we can daydream about a future where data centers may one day fit in our pockets, Pullen is quick to point out that the miniaturization of data centers hasn’t happened since he joined this industry — and it doesn’t look like it will soon. This means that it’s up to companies like CyrusOne to innovate to sustainably serve their clients before governments feel the impetus is on them to step in and facilitate changes.

For those looking to break into the data center market, the sustainability side of this equation is yet unanswered — leaving room for those who are capable of providing excellent service in an environmentally friendly way to make a mark.

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