For many enterprises, IT deployments are in flux. Traditionally, data and workloads were stored in centralized enterprise datacenters, with some smaller deployments in regional facilities. Now, companies have data and workloads outside of core enterprise datacenters, in centralized public cloud sites, leased datacenters and at edge locations. This is often due to the amount of data being created in edge locations that requires local storage or compute, such as for latency reasons, or when customers or employees need access to data nearby and using a central datacenter or public cloud region would add latency and impact performance.
Putting workloads at the edge means that organizations increasingly need to add infrastructure at the edge to store and analyze data, as well as network connectivity to transport the data to the core. We estimate global electricity used by IT equipment in edge settings (server rooms, micro datacenters, datacenters with < 100kW of power) at 140 terawatt hours in 2021. This is growing rapidly, as IoT and 5G applications produce increasing amounts of data that is stored near devices. Projections from Schneider Electric estimate datacenter energy consumption at 2,700 terawatt hours by 2040, with 60% of that consumption from distributed sites. This means more equipment, more power use and, therefore, more to keep track of.