A fleet of green data centers and a well-advanced plan to stop using fossil-fuel powered vehicles are among the key steps driving Intermax’s mission to be the most sustainable cloud services provider in the Netherlands.
Ludo Baauw – founder, corporate social responsibility lead and CEO of Intermax Group, sees firsthand the direct impact that sustainability initiatives have on the environment and biodiversity. It’s a perspective that shaped his goals for Intermax, and which can be seen in small things and big efforts.
Intermax, which provides managed cloud services, infrastructure-as-a-service, a broad array of application services, and robust security offerings – among them Security Information and Event Management services and a complete Security Operations Center solution – has big sustainability ambitions.
It aims to become carbon neutral in 2027 and carbon negative by 2030. Notably, all five of the company’s data centers are already 100% powered by Dutch solar and wind sources. The company also just deployed its most advanced, most environmentally friendly, data center.
“Our newest data center reflects our decision to fully commit to sustainability, while ensuring a seamless transition without any disruption or inconvenience for our customers,” says Baauw. “That move required months of meticulous planning, but was made much easier with our VMware-driven clouds, which are entirely 2N, fully redundant systems mirrored across two regional DCs. It was a significant task for our technical team, and we are still evaluating the outcome, but we estimate that the new center is saving 30% on cooling power and delivering significant improvements in power usage effectiveness.”
Intermax is also now initiating a proof-of-concept to repurpose the residual heat from the new data center’s servers through immersion cooling with the aim of reintroducing that heat into the local district’s network.
The company began its sustainability journey more than a decade ago.
“We founded the company in 1994 and in 2009 made the commitment to become the most secure cloud service provider in the country with the highest degree of certification,” Baauw says. “We achieved that goal within a few years and in 2013 we committed to phasing out all of our fossil-fuel powered vehicles, an effort we are on the brink of achieving as we prepare to retire the older ones in our fleet. Now we are raising the bar and aiming to become the most sustainable cloud provider.”
It is a goal Baauw sees customers embracing as well. Intermax’s customers, which include leading organizations across industries, are increasingly concerned with their own environmental impact.
“We have a lot of customers in government and healthcare, among them many hospitals,” he adds. “They ask us specifically if we can help them reach their goal of becoming carbon neutral. We can of course do so while empowering them with IT services that draw on the inherent capabilities of the cloud and enable them to focus more on their mission while working smarter and more efficiently. To do that though, our cloud services must be as sustainable as possible.”
Baauw believes actions in his own life have helped to drive his company’s sustainability mission.
“My colleagues and I drink a lot of coffee together at the office and the grounds used to go to the bin,” says Baauw. “Now we take that home for composting in our gardens. I use it in my meadows, where it ultimately helps to sustain my beehives, which provide the honey I often bring back to the office for our tea. That’s about as circular as you can get, and while but a small effort, is consistent with the mindset that has led us to take on some very big challenges in our drive to make Intermax a company that makes a difference for the environment.”
Baauw also stresses that making sustainability gains in any organization is an effort that is inherently collaborative. Spreading the word is essential.
“Achieving carbon neutrality is a goal that requires the collective support of vendors and customers,” he says. “At Intermax, we are deeply committed to becoming a CO2-negative organization as swiftly as possible. We are also very appreciative that VMware shares our passion and commitment to address the issue of climate change, and are honored to join the VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative. Our industry can make a great difference when we all work together.”
Not surprisingly, Baauw is optimistic. He believes great gains are right around the corner.
“Cloud computing has the potential to significantly improve power usage efficiency, reduce e-waste and employ new technologies like immersion cooling on a vast scale – all while enabling many of the technological solutions that will help us collectively address climate change,” adds Baauw. “Sustainability and opportunity are intertwined and should be pursued simultaneously. Fine details matter – for example, we eliminated plastic and single-use giveaways to promote more sustainable corporate events and we also provide each employee with complimentary public transport and a leased bike. Most importantly though, you have to act and remember that every little bit helps.”
Learn more about Intermax and its partnership with VMware here.
Learn more about Intermax and its CSR program in Dutch at https://www.intermax.nl/over-intermax/mvo/