We sat down with Bass Salah of ResetData to talk about the growing ecological cost of data centers, and the change he’s ushering in.
Data center specialists ResetData are leading the way in creating environments that are as ecologically sustainable as they are financially viable. ResetData’s CEO explained to us why the two things are not mutually exclusive.
Good afternoon, Mr. Salah. What was the professional arc, or journey, that brought you to ResetData?
I’ve always had a passion for what lies at the intersection of the built environment and technology. My journey started more than 25 years ago in construction, then I moved into strategic consulting in property development. I spent some of my career in the Middle East where I built data centers for corporate real estate clients. Back in those days, the cloud was just emerging and was not really an option for most enterprises.
Today, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and we’re using more computer capacity than ever to stay connected. As a result, the infrastructure powering it is becoming less sustainable and regulated, especially as demand continues to increase. I started The Engineering Factory in response to that, focusing on supplying sustainable infrastructure to data centers.
Marcel Zalloua’s (ResetData’s co-founder) view was that we should go one step further and develop our own data centers demonstrating the technology and capability to the market, so, we created ResetData.
The data center market is highly unsustainable in terms of its power and water consumption. We wanted to change the market’s perception, and show them that there’s a better way to do it. At ResetData, we know that using sustainable infrastructure for data centers is the solution.
What is ResetData’s overall mission? And what makes your service different?
The problem with today’s technology is the high level of resources needed to keep it running. Take – for example – how data centers in Australia alone consume more power than South Australia. It’s the equivalent of the CO2 emissions of 3.4 million cars.
To cool these facilities, we need around 37 billion liters of water per year. That’s the equivalent of nine liters of water consumed by each Australian per day, every day for the software and storage of our devices.
Sustainability is the foundation of ResetData’s offering. We want to be transparent, and open the industry’s eyes to a better way. … We need to hold businesses to account. There is no planet Earth 2.0.
Our mission is to improve the performance and capability of tomorrow’s technology, in a sustainable way. Our data centers use zero wastewater and emit 70% less CO2 by using two key revolutionary technologies: Submer immersion cooling and Bloom Energy solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). We have a design PUE of 1.15 which, compared to the APAC average of 1.69, is extremely efficient.
We’ll have high-density, high-performing data center facilities in the middle of Sydney’s CBD by the end of the first quarter in 2022. We’ll offer colocation, bare metal and hybrid cloud services, coupled with a dark fiber connection to any enterprise within the CBD and to the ASX, and the network of data centers across Sydney.
Because we have such great efficiency in power generation and power consumption, these services are selling for 10% less than the market price.
How significant a factor does sustainability play in ResetData’s service offering?
It is the foundation of our offering. We want to be transparent, and open the industry’s eyes to what is a better way. For us, it’s about an enduring legacy. We want that legacy to be sustainable for future generations, and we hope the market notices and starts applying similar practices. Scope 3 reporting, which is the upstream and downstream reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, is mandatory in Europe. We believe it should be mandatory here too. We need to hold businesses to account. There is no planet Earth 2.0.
This is, at the end of the day, good business as well as environmentally sustainable. How is it that what you’re doing isn’t a more widespread practice?
The current data center formats have been around for decades. While there have been innovations, they fall under ‘component,’ rather than architectural innovations. We’re early adopters of technology; ResetData will be the first in Australia to deploy Submer Immersion Cooling and Bloom Energy SOFC. We are also the first to bring edge data centers back to urban areas, to the CBD. So, we deliver both architectural and component innovation.
Who, or which businesses, do you think will benefit most from adopting the ResetData model?
There are three. First, are the businesses that want to create a better legacy. Second, are the businesses that need more IT grunt: AI, blockchain, financial trading, game rendering, simulation, graphic processing. Third, are the businesses who want to take control of their data security, data sovereignty, and keep costs down.
What’s next? What’s the plan for the next five years? What does ‘success’ look like to ResetData?
We want to deliver a seamless experience for an enterprise in any CBD location. To do that, we are looking at a national rollout, followed by an international rollout. The goal for us is to create a data center network for enterprises that drives more efficient, higher density and processing, sustainably and close to existing business districts.