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Sustainable Storage: Discover How You Can Reduce Your Carbon Emissions

Written on: Jul 28, 2022 10:28:14 AM

Written by: Elizabeth Reed


[Data Infrastructure, Commvault, Hybrid Cloud Storage, Cloud, COOLSPIRiT, Pure Storage]

As the UK was hit by scorching temperatures last week, the unbearable heat has only reinforced an uncomfortable truth constantly on our periphery. Global warming is steadily worsening...

We've all heard the mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle" to inspire individual action and although every little certainly helps, we must address the worst offenders for greenhouse gas emissions. It's no secret that the IT industry is a major contributor thanks to its ferocious energy consumption, but the figures are still alarming. According to the International Energy Agency, data centres account for almost 1% of the global electricity consumption (1). To put that into perspective, that is equivalent to what 5.9 million vehicles would emit in one year. 

In light of this issue, governments, customers and investors now demand better from companies, with high carbon companies less likely to secure investment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has also called for a 50% reduction of emissions by 2030 to curb the impact of global warming, while the ESG will mandate decarbonising reporting from 2023 (2). In other words, there is soon to be a huge crackdown on companies that fail to take the necessary steps to reduce their carbon footprint. The time to act is now. Fortunately, the most effective measures to lower CO2 emissions are simple to implement. 

Public Cloud Data Infrastructure

The public cloud has become a platform of choice for some organisations, opting to move all or part of their data across. Widely considered for its financial, security, and agility benefits, the public cloud also offers the bonus of being a more sustainable storage option than extremely large and often underutilised legacy data infrastructure. A recent study by Accenture found that migrations to the public cloud across the EU could reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons a year - the equivalent of 22 million cars (3). This is the result of several factors. For one, cloud computing involves the aggregation of computing resources from discrete enterprise data centres to hyper-scale centres optimised for power capacity management, cooling and server utilisation rates. Additionally, many cloud providers are shunning fossil fuels and turning to renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind to power their infrastructure. 

Hybrid Data Infrastructure

For many organisations, an all-public cloud approach is not the most appropriate move given the lack of cost control for midsize to large enterprises, incompatibility with certain compliance regulations, and limited customisation. Fortunately, the hybrid cloud approach combines the best of both worlds, so you don't have to retire your on-premise servers - granting greater control, data protection, scalability, and performance across applications and platforms while providing more predictable costs and a lower TCO. A perfect example of on-premise infrastructure for Hybrid Data Centres is all-flash storage - ideal for data-intensive workloads and energy usage, given that SSDs and NVMe are much more energy efficient than traditional HDDs. 

Curbing E-Waste

As these migrations and forklift upgrades occur to modernise infrastructure, the question remains as to what happens with the displaced legacy kit. According to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Forum, e-waste reached a shocking 57.4 million tons of e-waste in 2021, of which only 19% was recycled (4). To curb the issue of e-waste, many storage providers and third parties are now offering initiatives to those who turn in their old IT equipment. To help reduce e-waste, COOLSPIRiT offers an Asset Upcycling Service for the environmentally responsible removal, upcycling or recycling of equipment such as servers and storage. We can also help curb the amount of e-waste generated by underutilised physical storage infrastructure with the revolutionary storage subscription model Evergreen Storage, by Pure Storage. In keeping storage dense, efficient and modern through every stage of its ownership lifecycle, customers can expect a lifespan of 10 years or more, which is 3x that of a standard forklift upgrade. While this may sound fantastical, the figures do not lie - as 97% of Pure arrays purchased six years ago are still in service today (5).

Data Archiving

The general consensus is that approximately 80% of an organisation's data is unused over time (6). If this data is sat on high-energy consuming storage, energy is effectively being wasted. For the most infrequently accessed or archival data, tape storage is the most ideal as tape consumes little to no power once written and stored. As for data backup, deduplication technologies ensure that only the most necessary data is duplicated to minimise the total storage consumed - allowing better utilisation of your existing capacity. With our GUARDiAN team and Commvault technology, you can protect and archive data to your preferred carbon-friendly storage location - be that hybrid, cloud or tape.

We hold sustainability at the core of our organisation which is why we have partnered with vendors who share our passion for a greener, cleaner world. 

Contact our expert team today on 01246 454 222 or hello@coolspirit.co.uk to learn how we can help you in your sustainability journey.


1. International Energy Agency, Data Centres and Data Transmission Networks, November 2021

2.IPCC, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change, April 2022

3. Accenture, The Green Behind The Cloud, 2020

4. WEF, This year's e-waste to outweigh Great Wall of China, October 2021

5. ESG, 2021 ESG Report: Technology and Sustainability, March 2022

6. WANdisco, 2022 State of Data Activation Report, April 2022

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