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 greater risk and 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 growth increases. 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 compute-intensive applications and technologies, including IoT and AI. 

Unstructured data is growing at an exponential rate, too, 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. And, any efficiency gains accomplished so far to keep data center energy in check could be challenged or outpaced by these mounting trends.

A Gartner report titled 2022 Strategic Roadmap for Storage estimates that this could all lead to a “23-fold increase in enterprise storage capacity through 2030,” requiring I&O leaders to rethink data center technologies and adopt energy conservation initiatives to reduce costs.

Energy Consumption Is Rising

More data equals more energy consumption by data centers. But just how much energy? 

The report reveals that “on average, the energy cost to power a single server rack in a data center in the U.S. can be as high as $30,000 a year depending on its configuration of storage and compute capabilities. On average, storage can account for 11% of the energy or roughly $3,300 per rack.” To support this, companies will need to invest in heat-removal technologies (which use power of their own) to avoid additional energy costs for cooling. 

What about Water?

And there’s more to the sustainability 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 remain common. Their use of heat-generating, spinning disks requires tremendous amounts 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 grow, organizations face an increasing reality that the environment can no longer sustain the impact of storing data on outdated, inefficient technology. With pressure to achieve carbon neutrality, even those that have gone all-flash are seeing data growth on an exponential level. I&O leaders 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 modern data storage that consumes less power.. Modern flash storage 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.

All-flash arrays from Pure Storage were built specifically to improve environmental sustainability in the data center. DirectFlash offers greater density, lower power consumption, and lower cooling costs, delivering an impressive impact on customer operations and costs while supporting sustainability initiatives.

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Promote Environmental Best Practices with Pure Storage

The Gartner report shares best practices for organizations that are seeking to increase their energy conservation. And Pure Storage can help! With products and services that measurably reduce power utilization, Pure is equipped to help organizations in the following areas:

  • Improved storage efficiency:  High-capacity storage reduces storage cost while hyper-consolidating large volumes of data. With DirectFlash technology from Pure, you’ll gain unparalleled density and efficiency, driving significant energy reductions.  
  • Greater agility and flexibility: Pure’s modular, upgradeable architecture and Evergreen portfolio of subscriptions extend sustainability. Leveraging the benefits of public cloud storage and STaaS, this powerful combination delivers two key environmental benefits—reduction of wasted energy through non-disruptive upgrades and reduction of e-waste through continual upgrades of array components. 
  • Improved visibility: AIOPs platform analytics help quantify energy consumption with simulation modeling, and environmental and sustainability metrics. With heightened visibility, organizations can assess impact, forecast capacity and performance, and make data-driven decisions to meet environmental goals.

Go Green with Orange

The message is clear. Sustainability is now a must in today’s business environment, and it comes with valuable benefits. Making the decision to move to data storage that is more sustainable can be part of a larger strategy to increase efficiency, add brand value, meet consumer demands, and create new opportunities.

Download the Gartner report 2022 Strategic Roadmap for Storage and learn more about how Pure is Improving the World Through People, Technology, and Business.