IT professionals may not think about the environmental impact of data storage and the technology they use in their day to day work.
Data storage, on premises or in the cloud, can cause environmental damage as storage hardware can consume large amounts of electricity and energy.
There are ways to be mindful about the environment when choosing storage strategies and hardware, as well as vendors.
The large amount of energy required to store hardware and maintain it is significant.
Storing data in a corporate data center Storage devices require electricity to be poweredas well as associated storage management systems. It also requires energy to maintain a safe temperature for equipment. Data centers require a lot of power to run switches, lights, HVAC equipment, emergency lighting, and security systems.
Even if the data center is not being used, the space still consumes energy. Although data centers don’t emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants by themselves, power suppliers and electric utilities often release pollutants into our atmosphere.
Be aware of cloud providers’ commitment to green storage
Cloud storage providers can be a valuable addition to any organization’s IT infrastructure. Cloud vendors typically have data centers around to serve customer storage requirements. These data centers require a lot of energy to operate, but many companies use them because of the financial savings and convenience they offer. These factors often outweigh any environmental considerations.
Cloud storage involves many steps before data arrives at its storage place. First, data is sent directly to the cloud vendor. This then routes data to one of several data centers for storage. To send data to the vendor, you need energy to power routers or switches, or to access the internet. One or more data centers are then required, often covering large areas of land. To get data to its storage location, you will need even more power.
Cloud storage is convenient as it doesn’t require additional floor space, can be scalable to meet user needs, and offers important business continuity and technology recovery benefits. It can also be more harmful to the environment because it uses energy.
A corporate data center, on the other hand, often transmits data locally to a storage device within the same building, possibly over a SAN. There is no need for internet access and there are no multiple data centers. The environment is less affected by a single corporate data center than hundreds or dozens of cloud vendor data centres.
Strategies to make data storage more eco-friendly
An organization may consider adding local data storage equipment to its corporate data center as part of its overall data storage strategy. Although this method may require more electricity and the HVAC system might need to work harder to keep it running, the overall power consumption — which can cause additional damage to the environment — will likely be minimal.
IT management should review any environmental studies conducted on the vendor as part of a storage strategy. Management should also inquire about the environmental impact of the cloud storage vendor.
When possible, renewable energy such as solar, wind, or hydropower should be used. This is true regardless of whether you have a single corporate server or a cloud vendor that has dozens.
Dark data that isn’t needed or takes up storage space should be eliminated. Energy is wasted. However, data that is required for business, compliance, or political purposes should be kept, even if it hasn’t been used for some time.
Deduplication software is also available for organizations to eliminate duplicate copies in files, databases, or other items.
Hardware and green data storage
Traditional HDDs require energy in order to spin the disk, move the arm back-and-forth across the drive surface, and to move it. Heat generated by HDDs must also be managed by HVAC equipment. This also requires power. Here are some energy-efficient storage options.
- Tape storageThis is a popular type for green storage because the tape itself doesn’t generate heat; however, the tape drive as well as associated hardware generate heat.
- Multiple virtual servers should be stored on one server to reduce the need for additional server hardware.
- SSDs don’t have moving parts and are often more powerful than HDDs.
- A massive array of idle disks is an energy-efficient technique that allows disk drives to switch into low-power mode when not in use.
How to get green data storage started
The following suggestions can be helpful for users: Change existing data storage environments to be more environmentally friendly.
- Analyze the energy requirements of all data centers equipment to identify areas for improvement.
- Identify storage devices that aren’t being used. Keep them safe but make sure they are accessible in case of emergency.
- Examine the data storage percentage on premises versus in cloud storage. You may be able to move some items back onto premises and reduce your storage requirements.
- Compare the energy requirements for different servers to determine if it is possible to replace your existing servers by more energy-efficient units.
- To reduce dependence on fossil-fueled power systems, you can find alternative energy sources.
- Dark data can be identified, and then deleted.
- Examine the organization’s commitment to environmental protection.