Data centres are under tremendous pressure to deal with the energy demands placed on them by artificial intelligence (AI), while also lowering their carbon emissions. Given that one creates the other, it’s quite a conundrum.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) have therefore come on to the radar as a promising solution for powering data centres, addressing escalating energy demands and the environmental concerns associated with these facilities. The supposed benefits are numerous – they can provide a reliable, continuous power supply for maintaining operations without interruptions. Additionally, they emit no greenhouse gases during operation, aligning with the growing emphasis on sustainability, while their scalability allows them to meet increasing energy demands as data centres expand.

However, SMRs are unlikely to be available for up to 10 years, while regulatory requirements and construction will be tightly controlled. Add to that the obstacles of fuel availability and the inevitable public objections and it could be that SMRs are not the answer to providing data centres with the
low-carbon energy that some are suggesting. To explore this subject further we have assembled a panel of industry experts
to discuss the pros and cons of SMRs.

In this month’s issue we have a special feature dedicated to micro-modular data centres. Steven Carlini of Schneider Electric explains how micro-modular data centres are meeting the sustainability and energy challenges posed by the edge, while Chris Wellfair of Secure IT Environments outlines practicalities involved in making them a reality.

We also have a special feature dedicated to security and access control, comprising two excellent articles. In the first, Francesco Bellavia of Mayflex outlines the benefits of cloud security solutions. He is followed by our old friend Andy Hirst of Sudlows, who looks at the need for mission critical physical security in and around data centres.

It’s been great fun putting together a review of the Inside_Networks 2024 Charity Golf Day, which raised almost £10,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. I’d like to once again say a massive thank you to all those who participated, sponsored and provided raffle prizes. We’ll be doing it all over again in 2025.

Rob Shepherd