Ponichtera: Innovation in data centres for sustainable development

“The solutions that will result in improved energy efficiency of the building itself must already be planned at the design stage”, says Adam Ponichtera, director of the Polish branch of Data4.

Publikacja: 12.09.2023 02:58

Adam Ponichtera, director of the Polish branch of Data4

Adam Ponichtera, director of the Polish branch of Data4

Foto: Aleksander Zieliński

This year, Data4 opened its first data centre in Poland. Will there be others?

That’s right. Two years ago we bought a 4-ha plot of land in Jawczyce near Warsaw. The first building is completed and in use, but we are not stopping there. Such a space has room for four buildings. We have already poured the foundations for the next one and will hand it over to customers at the end of 2024. We will start planning a third building in September, as interest in data colocation services in Poland is high. The digital transformation has, in a way, forced companies to take a new approach to data, which is a valuable and sensitive resource for them. Therefore, data centres are critical infrastructure that provide uninterrupted access to services across multiple sectors. In terms of location, our clients are inquiring about other areas of Warsaw, so we are looking at further investments.

What are the parameters of Data4's data centres?

The Jawczyce site will be powered by 60 MW. This was one-third of the Polish market when the investment started, two years ago. The first building will have 2,200 sqm of usable space, i.e. the space where the server racks are located, known as the heart of our customers. Within all buildings, a total of 15,000 sqm of IT space will be at their disposal. The entire investment will be completed by 2026–2027.

materiały prasowe

Data centres are critical infrastructure that are essential in today’s economy, but a discussion has emerged on how to ensure clean energy in such facilities. How do you solve this?

When it comes to energy efficiency, we start with the customers themselves, who are changing their minds about data retention. A server room in an office building is very different from a data centre – because of the wholesale purchase of energy. Data4 strives to use energy directly from renewable sources at each location, and the company’s customers in Poland will be provided with a Green Dashboard tool, which allows them to monitor the environmental footprint of their rented infrastructure, and a guarantee of the origin of the energy used.

Green energy is one of the pillars of our organisation, with nearly 100% of our resources (in Poland and Europe) coming from renewable sources. We are at the forefront of the industry in terms of the use of such sources.

What other parameters should modern data centres meet to be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible?

It is a complex process. The solutions that will result in improved energy efficiency of the building itself must already be planned at the design stage. For example, we are developing technologies to use external temperatures to cool buildings and server rooms. Poland, compared to France, Spain or Italy, will have a much better performance due to its milder climate.

The second parameter is the use of said green energy or securing the building with generators that can run on green diesel. Even the way servers are stacked in a rack can result in a reduction of up to 10% At every stage of our collaboration with customers and suppliers, we influence the reduction of our carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency, thereby reducing our environmental impact.

Some centres in the industry have been operating for a long time. Can they be changed to be more sustainable or do new ones need to be built?

Building from scratch is easier. Even the use of concrete with reduced carbon footprint is already having a visible effect. Then there is the production of the servers themselves. They can be applied to an existing facility, whereas it is difficult to adapt the buildings themselves. Air-conditioning systems can be replaced, and we are doing so – for example at the site in France. However, it is better to design infrastructure for data centres from scratch. There are still many facilities in Poland that are merely adapted to such services and not built to fulfil the function of such a centre.

What further innovations are in the pipeline for data centres?

We are unlikely to move them out to sea, although there are companies that are trying to do this. In contrast, we are introducing a number of innovations to ensure high quality and increasing control. This is done by modern software and artificial intelligence. AI is designed to detect potential failure points and optimise energy consumption. An example of a solution that provides great control is the PUE factor, which measures energy efficiency. Then there is the clustering of data centres, i.e. building large modules on a small plot of land, which is the current trend. Another is to build smaller sites, but closer to customers, i.e. not only in big cities.

How will the data centre business develop in Poland?

Currently, the concentration of data centres in Europe is concentrated in the FLAPD region (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin). The trend had been developing there for 10 years and so large areas of data centres were established. Through regulation, a market that has been growing steadily but more slowly, i.e. Central Europe, becomes attractive from the point of view of customers and us. Today, Warsaw, Vienna, Prague, or Berlin are becoming more and more popular and, consequently, of interest to investors. We will soon see a surge in the core services of global and regional players, reinforced by artificial intelligence, which we can expect to come to us. It is estimated that this will increase our industry by as much as three times. This allows us to view the further development of the data centre sector in Poland with great optimism.

This year, Data4 opened its first data centre in Poland. Will there be others?

That’s right. Two years ago we bought a 4-ha plot of land in Jawczyce near Warsaw. The first building is completed and in use, but we are not stopping there. Such a space has room for four buildings. We have already poured the foundations for the next one and will hand it over to customers at the end of 2024. We will start planning a third building in September, as interest in data colocation services in Poland is high. The digital transformation has, in a way, forced companies to take a new approach to data, which is a valuable and sensitive resource for them. Therefore, data centres are critical infrastructure that provide uninterrupted access to services across multiple sectors. In terms of location, our clients are inquiring about other areas of Warsaw, so we are looking at further investments.

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