With the climate crisis topping headlines on a daily basis, organizations across every industry are embracing sustainability as a priority issue. Proactive business leaders understand that having a sustainability strategy in place enables them to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations while still meeting their customers’ needs. In contrast, those taking a do-nothing approach are increasingly finding that their decision is a recipe for future losses.
With so much at stake, organizations are looking at ways to improve resource efficiency while also building a sustainable model for the future. This includes considering the impact of data centers—especially as data volumes increase. Because data centers consume natural resources, they play an undeniably important part in any corporate sustainability strategy.
Data Volumes Are Exploding
According to a 2020 study in the AAAS Science Journal, data center workloads increased six-fold in the past decade. This is largely due to growing mobile and cloud-computing traffic, as well as expanding development and adoption of technologies, including IoT and AI. Unstructured data is growing at an exponential rate, propelling the need for more storage capacity. For the majority of organizations, their current data center infrastructure will not likely be sufficient to keep up with their future data center workloads.
Energy Consumption Is Rising
More data equals more energy consumption by data centers. But just how much energy? That same 2020 AAAS Science Journal study found that data centers currently account for about 1% of the total electrical energy usage worldwide. Much of this is used to keep storage from overheating and compromising data. IT equipment generates a lot of heat and must be kept cool to run efficiently.
What About Water?
But there’s more to the story. Water is another vital resource that makes up the environmental footprint of a data center. A midsize data center uses about 130 million gallons of water per year—roughly the same amount of water as 100 acres of almond trees, three average-sized hospitals, or two 18-hole golf courses. With water availability likely to be degraded by climate change, organizations must also consider data center water usage when calculating their impact on the environment.
Legacy Data Centers Simply Aren’t Efficient
Although organizations are increasingly investing in sustainability initiatives, inefficient legacy data centers are still common. And their use of heat-generating, spinning disks requires lots of electricity, water, and money to keep them running and cool. Too often, there is a singular focus on maintaining uptime, rather than doing so in a way that is environmentally responsible. Energy consumption isn’t tracked. Meanwhile, costs and energy continue to rise as data workloads increase.
As climate-related challenges continue to increase, organizations are facing the reality that the environment can no longer sustain the impact of storing data on outdated, inefficient technology. Even those that have gone all-flash are seeing data grow exponentially and understand that the cutting-edge technologies they invest in today will eventually reach a new environmental limitation.
Is All-Flash a Solution?
The key to long-term sustainability is choosing data storage that is engineered to be lower power, lower cooling, and lower waste. By transitioning from spinning disk to solid-state media, flash data center footprints can shrink dramatically.
Pure’s all-flash arrays were built specifically to improve environmental sustainability in the data center. With greater density, lower power consumption, and lower cooling costs, they deliver an impressive impact on customer operations and costs while supporting sustainability initiatives. For example, FlashArray//C is optimized to help organizations, including those with enormous capacity needs, reduce their footprint. Even as their capacity needs continue to grow, organizations can scale down their data center footprint with Pure. And by moving away from a hybrid system to all-flash, they also reduce high power and cooling costs and wasted capacity.
Environmental Responsibility Beyond the Data Center
Along with opting for technologies that support greater sustainability, it’s also important to choose vendors that are environmentally and economically responsible. It’s not just about cost but also doing the right thing.
What exactly does this look like?
At Pure, it means optimizing the end-to-end supply chain by:
- Moving to recyclable packaging and eliminating packaging waste
- Choosing a sustainable supplier network
- Adopting quality-driven manufacturing processes
- Consolidating documents
- Continuous improvement and optimization
It also means focusing on social responsibility, obtaining LEED certification on buildings, reducing the use of printers, choosing renewable energy sources, and much more. Through these efforts, Pure is lower power, lower cooling, and lower waste than other storage vendors, making it a smart choice for organizations that are embracing sustainable practices.
The Advantages of a Sustainable Data Storage Strategy
The message is clearer than ever. Sustainability is now a must in today’s business environment, and it comes with a lot of benefits. Making the decision to move to data storage that is more sustainable can be part of a larger strategy that increases efficiency, adds brand value, meets consumer demands, and creates new opportunities.
To learn more about moving toward a greener data center, download the e-book The Greener Path to a Sustainable Data Architecture.