Building sustainable products starts in the data center

Published:2022-04-22 Author:Mass Power

As the world moves towards carbon neutrality, companies can go a long way towards achieving their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals and business impact by committing from the outset to building products that minimise their environmental impact.

According to deloitte, taking the right action on climate change could add $3 trillion to the U.S. economy by 2070, while leaving it unchecked could cost the ECONOMY $14.5 trillion.At the same time, the World Economic Forum noted that some business leaders strongly believe that taking proactive steps to reduce carbon emissions is both a corporate responsibility and a way to save costs, meet customer needs and attract more talent, thereby enhancing their competitive advantage.

Data and data insights play an important role in the development of products and services across industries.At Pure Storage, we are well aware of the explosive growth of data and its impact on data infrastructure resource consumption.Data centres account for about 1 per cent of global electricity use, according to surveys by the International Energy Agency.Although demand for data services is soaring, energy efficiency limits this growth.

As data and data insights grow and become increasingly important, data centers play an undisputed role in any enterprise's sustainability strategy.As data workloads continue to grow, mitigating the environmental impact of data infrastructure has become a top priority.To build a future-oriented sustainable model today, data storage must be engineered to significantly reduce power consumption, reduce cooling requirements, minimize waste as much as possible, and have the potential to have a direct and significant impact on global data center carbon reduction.

Since its inception, Pure has actively invested in building efficient and sustainable products and services.To quantify their benefits, we recently hired an external environmental assessment firm to conduct a comprehensive product Life cycle assessment (LCA) of our all-flash array products and found that Pure customers reduced their direct carbon emissions from data systems by up to 80% compared to competing products.

We also recently released Pure's first ESG report, during which we gained some insights we believe will help companies reduce their carbon emissions as they drive their digital transformation. Here are four actions companies need to consider when considering their environmental impact:

1. Perform an importance assessment and identify priorities

Materiality assessment is a formal initiative to engage stakeholders and understand the importance of relevant ESG issues to them.Materiality assessments help identify key priority areas that are relevant to stakeholder engagement and business success.The Conference Board survey shows that importance assessments are gaining more attention, with most companies conducting them early in their sustainability strategies or during reviews.On a daily basis, we are committed to delivering substantial returns to our stakeholders, and our own assessment ensures that our efforts are focused and have maximum impact.

2. Do a good job in engineering design to reduce carbon footprint

Enterprise data centers are still typically optimized for reliability, performance, or cost, rather than efficiency.Traditional disk technology focuses on meeting capacity requirements, but is inefficient in energy use and produces e-waste.With SSDS, companies can design and operate data centers that use fewer resources and dramatically reduce carbon emissions.Pure is convinced that with a high degree of integration of hardware and software, we can lead the market in density, life and efficiency, and drive and improve efficiency over time.Building on Evergreen's architecture and philosophy, we continuously implement zero-interruption upgrades to hardware and software components of our customers' systems to help them avoid unnecessary and expensive product replacements and reduce associated power consumption and e-waste.

3. Develop as a service models to promote sustainable development

A true "as a service" solution is to buy the results (service level agreements) and have them delivered by a third party.Companies should take a step-by-step approach, point to point, and be transparent about pricing and related KPIs, including sustainability.In the case of storage, this means that the infrastructure can be upgraded with zero interruptions, without the need to "start from scratch" with high costs and project disruptions, with the flexibility to adapt as needed and deploy devices only when necessary.Our Pure As-A-Service subscription model, for example, can effectively eliminate the energy consumption and waste often associated with underutilization or overconfiguration of the system.

4. Optimize supply chain

End-to-end supply chain optimization includes adopting recyclable packaging, eliminating packaging waste, selecting sustainable supplier networks, and adopting quality-first manufacturing processes.This requires continuous improvement and optimization, as well as things like integrating documents.Fast response and diversified supply chains help foster rapid growth and respond to surges in demand.At Pure, our best practice is to work extensively with global suppliers to build a supply chain that can meet real challenges, while ensuring that employees are treated well and that the environment is environmentally friendly.

The ESG report and its associated work can serve as an important tool for measuring performance and identifying future room for improvement.Data centres are a promising starting point for sustainability.